Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Porch
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
PIÑON CANYON MANEUVER SITE — The sounds of Soldiers’ laughter, song and prayer filled a tent during a religious service at Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, Feb. 26.
Chap. (Maj.) Douglas Ball, brigade chaplain, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and Chap. (Capt.) Rodney Gilliam, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT, took the opportunity to visit multiple training sites and hold a religious service at the Troop D, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd BCT, maintenance area.
The chaplains wanted to show Soldiers they care about them and are there if they need to talk, Ball said.
“For many of them, I provide a different avenue,” he said. “One of the advantages of the chaplains is our confidentiality. The Soldier can talk to me about an issue and it … doesn’t get reported up, so it gives them a safe person to talk to who is outside of their normal realm.”
Soldiers said they appreciate the chaplains coming out to visit them.
“It is a really good feeling to have the chaplain conduct a service for us,” said Staff Sgt. Devon Thomas, Troop D, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd BCT. “It’s a morale booster to have him come out here; a real pleasure.”
Ball said he thinks of visiting and counseling Soldiers as more than just a job.
“It reminds me why I joined the Army and what I’m really in for,” said Ball. “I am always amazed to get to know new Soldiers and find out their life stories; why they joined the Army and what their goals and dreams are. It reminds me that there are a lot of faces behind what we do.”
During their visits, Ball took time to talk to unit leadership.
“I think they want avenues for their Soldiers to talk to somebody,” said Ball. “They know what they can provide, and they know what the chaplain can provide. It sends a message that we are concerned about more than just accomplishing the mission; we want to take care of them and their Soldiers.”
Despite being at Piñon Canyon for a monthlong training exercise, Soldiers used the service to come together.
The feeling of being away from home was put aside, and the feeling of coming together as one and knowing the chaplain was here for everyone helps, said Thomas.
Ball, along with the chaplains from the brigade’s battalions, plan to visit the training sites often and engage Soldiers as much as possible.
“We are working to push all chaplains out to other battalions to make sure Soldiers in battalions without chaplains get an opportunity to see someone,” he said.