Higher-Command Chaplain Visit

Most of the time, higher headquarters are located near their subordinate units. Sometimes, however, higher headquarters are more distant, like here in Korea, my higher headquarters are located near Washington D.C. Also, usually there is a clear chain of command to those higher headquarters, but sometimes there are dotted lines of command as well as multiple chains. That is the case with my brigade and the subordinate battalions. Being in Korea, we have “dotted-line” chains of command to 8th Army and U.S. Forces Korea and in the event of resumed hostilities in Korea, Combined Forces Command. With all of the organic and “dotted-line” chains of commands and technical/supervisory chains, there is the potential of many different VIPs coming to Korea.

This week, one of my battalions had such a visit. This battalion is muddled with solid and dotted lines and a Chaplain (Colonel) from one of their higher commands visited the battalion and its chaplain. Adding to the “muddle” is that this chaplain is in a joint billet, so is an Air Force chaplain, visiting an Army battalion.

The visiting chaplain (center) with the psychologist (left) and the battalion chaplain (right).
The visiting chaplain (center) with the psychologist (left) and the battalion chaplain (right).

One of the things that this chaplain did while in Korea was present a “safeTALK” which is a half-day of training on suicide prevention, awareness and intervention. There were 30 or so Soldiers present for this training which helps them identify Soldiers in crisis and intervene to prevent suicide.

Each participant in the 1/2-day safeTALK class received a completion certificate.
Each participant in the 1/2-day safeTALK class received a completion certificate.

Since this Chaplain (Colonel) came from the U.S., the battalion chaplain did much of the coordination for his visit and for the class, so she was honored with the presentation of the visiting chaplain’s coin of excellence which is always a thrill to receive.

The battalion chaplain receiving a coin from the visiting chaplain for all the work she did coordinating his visit and the class.
The battalion chaplain receiving a coin from the visiting chaplain for all the work she did coordinating his visit and the class.

After the safeTALK presentation and before the visiting chaplain continued his visit with site tours and office calls, we went to lunch in “The Ville” at a nice South African restaurant called Braai Republic. With us were a couple of gentlemen who are civilian contractors in the same organization as the visiting chaplain, and a clinical psychologist in a related organization. It’s always great to visit with other chaplains, especially senior chaplains, and pick their brain to learn from them and their experiences. We had a good time of conversation while waiting for, and eating, our meal.

Our group enjoying lunch at Braai Republic in "The Ville."
Our group enjoying lunch at Braai Republic in “The Ville.”

After lunch, it was rush back to post for him to continue his visit at the battalion before he moved on to Osan Air Base then to Japan before returning to the U.S.

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