The Voice for Chaplaincy - Chartered by Congress - Serving Since 1925
Weekly Newsgram - December 26th 2018

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - For months on end the Lifeliner religious support team has traveled all throughout the Combined Joint Operations Area Afghanistan to ensure that Soldiers feed their spirit through the deliverance of biblical teachings, prayer, and spiritual counseling. 

As the 101st Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade enters the last quarter of their deployment, Army Chaplains Col. John Murphy and Maj. Jonathan Mcpherson, the chaplain for the 101st RSSB organized a prayer dinner for members of the brigade to come and celebrate fellowship with their unit counterparts. 

"Prayer dinners and fellowship are essential; they address the spiritual components of Soldiers lives,  " said Chaplain Mcpherson, who served as a key element when hosting the event. "Soldiers get to expand their spiritual perspective on God, pray with others and learn about fitting scriptures for personal things they may be currently navigating through in life."

For centuries, military organizations have gathered amongst one another to pray for God's continued blessing over the Nation, Soldiers, and their family members back home while serving on deployment. Prayer dinners have a longstanding lineage; Commanders rally their troops to pray for divine assistance in accomplishing their mission while hearing a message to invigorate their spiritual lives. 

The key component of the event is prayer, complimented with special music played by members serving in the unit, along with a breath-taking full course meal and dessert. While Soldiers eat, they actively listen to a spiritual message, given by a guest chaplain whose ultimate goal is to instill spiritual solitude, endurance, and disciplines.

Captain Brian Robinette, a medical services officer, and 2nd Lt. Ellie Prikazski, a military intelligence officer, both serving with the 101st RSSB performed gospel songs that filled the hearts and ears of everyone in the room. Robinette played the acoustic guitar while Prikazski sang and played the piano. Spectators bowed their heads to pray while others lifted their hands, rejoiced, and sang along. 

"Deployed Soldiers experience trials daily under the shadow of life and death, this dinner places a Soldier face-to-face with God who grants them the confidence to call out to him for help in their time of need," said Chaplain Mcpherson.

"From this event I want our Soldiers to know that even though deployment brings with it difficultly, God can use this difficult season to change us into the people he has called us to be," said Mcpherson. "Secondly, scriptures reassures us that God can use each and every one of us to strive toward his purpose for us in this world." 

The prayer dinner concluded with a benediction given by Mcpherson. "God is great and he is able to do above and beyond what we could ever ask or imagine, he will continue to cover the Lifeliner team in his spiritual grace and allow us to redeploy safely to our beloved families."

In Memoriam

Colonel, United States Army, Retired
born July 8, 1939
deceased December 21, 2018
MCA Life Member 1975
Roman Catholic
Hudson Falls, New York

Executive Director Notes
  I have been asked to review a book that is being released shortly, and while not a professional book reviewer, I do want to bring this to your attention.
 The book is "We Regret to Inform You: A Survival Guide for Gold Star Parents and Those Who Support Them" by Joanne Steen, MS, NCC. Ms. Steen is a Gold Star Widow, and a trained grief counselor, who has written this as an understandable, helpful guide for parents who get the dreaded "knock on the door."
  In many ways this brings the Gold Star program full circle, as in WWII most service members were young and single, and the name of the program itself started as Gold Star Mothers.
  As I write this I am looking at my paternal Grandmother's Gold Star pin, and my Uncle Kenny's Purple Heart, which was awarded to him when the Merchant Marine tanker SS C J Barkdull, where he was serving as part of the Navy Armed Guard, was lost just outside of New York Harbor.
  With the deaths of service members since September 11th, who have had proportionately far more spouses than their WWII counterparts, there has been an appropriate focus on the surviving spouses. Lost in the emotional tumult have been the parents, and this book addresses their grief issues, and does it very well. I have met Ms. Steen previously, and the care and concern she exhibits in person comes through in the book.
 As I read thru the book, I was struck by the common sense, practical advice, with quotes by Gold Star Parents interspersed in the text. This will be an excellent resource for not only Gold Star Parents, but for family members and friends, and just as importantly, an excellent resource for those of us who serve as chaplains.
US Marines decorate a tree on Camp Fuji, Japan in shadow of Mount Fuji

When troops are deployed or stationed overseas during the holidays, they do everything they can to bring the Christmas spirit to their duty stations. 

Commands host special meals, decorate their bases, and conduct concerts or ceremonies to boost troop morale. 

Many bases around the world have already started decorating and preparing for the holiday. 

From Japan to Afghanistan, see how US troops stationed overseas are bringing Christmas cheer to their bases.

At the link are photos from around the world showing decorations for celebrating Christmas  by our troops and our allies. 

Here is a special video of  Christmas Decorations at Resolute Support Headquarters -

A war that shook the lives of millions around the globe, the Vietnam war was undoubtedly awful in every way. From the number of people who died in the incident to those who lost loved ones, the war had a devastating impact on everyone who was involved in it especially the USA veterans. In an effort to commemorate the fallen troops who selflessly gave their lives for the honor of the country, Robert Clark, a Vietnam Veteran himself, has written a book to remember the lives of the 25 people who died on December 25 , 1967. Titled  Faces of the Fallen , the book takes the reader back to a single day in Vietnam, to tell the stories of the twenty-five men who died that day and to learn what their lives and deaths meant to their families, friends and comrades. 

Faces of the Fallen focuses on the stories of the men who died on December 25, 1967. Robert Clark spoke with family and friends of these 25 soldiers, sailors and Marines.  The book uses official documents, online archives, online posted messages, personal correspondence, diaries, interviews, news articles, televised reports, video clips, maps and photographs (some of which he took) to reconstruct for the reader many of the details of their lives and deaths. The goal of recollecting all these memories is to ensure these heroes are never forgotten. In addition to this, the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Operation Second Cause,  a not-for-profit organization committed to serving the wounded, injured and ill combat veterans.  They support Veterans, by building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests and are dedicated to promoting public awareness of the many sacrifices made by our Armed Forces."
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If you missed the December 19th  edition of the Newsgram   click here 
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