Saturday, August 25, 2007

Two Miliary Chaplains Discuss Their Roles

Yesterday's Bucks County (PA) Courier Times carries an interesting interview with two military chaplains—one recently back from Iraq and one about to go there. Army National Guard Chaplain Douglas Etter, a Presbyterian, talked about how he prayed with soldiers before each mission. He said that the dominant problem soldiers faced was loneliness in being far from home and the strain on relationships with spouses that this separation imposed. Etter also reached out to Muslim leaders while he was in Iraq. Navy Chaplain Rabbi Jon Cutler-- deploying in November-- says he will spend a good deal of time counseling service members dealing with family problems. More than 90% of the troops he counsels are not Jewish. Previously Cutler spent four months in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm and was called to duty at the Pentagon following 9-11 to help counsel grieving families and to assist the mortuary team.