The word reformed is a verb. It is action based. The definition of “reformed” is to make changes in (something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it. No matter the context, reformation or the concept of change is hard. It is done to focus on priorities, focused on the mission, and focused to use resources efficiently.
During our own Reformation, we discovered that chaplains would no longer be at battalion level units. Chaplain support would be centralized at brigade and higher. The change would have impact not only for the organization but also for individual Soldiers and their families.
The change would require a new paradigm to meet unit and Soldier needs. In our own Division, how would 3-4 chaplains cover units, drill sergeants, and Soldiers from Maine to Virginia to Kentucky to Colorado and to Washington State? To cover this battle space requires engagement of not only every chaplain, but every chaplain’s assistant, and every chaplain candidate. Every Chaplain Corps position and person was important, was valuable, and was needed and would be utilized to cover Soldier needs. We may be the Army, but it really required all hands-on deck.
Chaplains, chaplain’s assistants, and chaplain candidates were the units’ lifelines, but we also realized that we needed to develop closer, stronger relationships at the unit level. Soldiers could connect with a chaplain as they always had, but Soldiers also should connect with one another. When a Soldier is hurting, there is no better guide than a battle buddy; no better sounding board than a mentor; no better counselor than a friend. We implemented Shoulder-to-Shoulder Initiative and Lifeline cards (see below) helping Soldiers identify close battle buddies they could turn to when they needed to talk, to cry, to vent, or just get a hug. Of course, if additional care or confidentiality is needed, the Chaplain’s number is listed on the card as well. Our unit ministry teams (UMT) are all comprised of TPU Soldiers, but we want to assure you that we support and serve you 24/7. We also have the Command’s full support to connect with you and your families as you maneuver life’s many challenges, disappointments, and even joys!!
At the 104th Division (LT), we understand the geographic challenges we face to connect with you and your units. So, during FY18, our plan is to get out to you as much as possible. You may be visited by your brigade chaplain who now also serves as your battalion chaplain but you may also be visited by one of the chaplains at Division.
We can support one another using the Shoulder-to-Shoulder approach.
We do it in pictures, let’s do it in life.