Diary of an American Chaplain in Iraq
I called the soldiers to order. Here they were, getting ready to head out to Iraq. Emotions ran high,
higher than a kite caught on a March wind. Some used comedy as a means of getting through this
transition, always cracking jokes, too scared to look at the tiger staring them straight in the eye. Others
found anger to be helpful, be mad at someone else and get the attention off of the real deal. Some used
steely determination, focusing on the project at hand. A few had tears in their eyes as they thought of their
families back home, how they may never see them again. A lot of them were young, fresh out of high
school, boys and girls alike with a common mission. They knew what they were getting into when they
signed up, there was a war on terror. America and what she stood for was at risk. They had high ideals, go
fight the war, win the war and come home a hero. It all seemed so simple to their young minds. I knew
better! I knew this would be the toughest time in their lives, and it was my job to get them through it!
I had a short speech that morning. Their training was done and they were ready to move that day. The
only difference was that instead of staying here for the next batch of trainees to guide; I am going with this
platoon. I am going to Iraq! ďUse me Lord to give them the strength and encouragement they are going to
need to see this through, in Your powerful name Jesus, Amen!Ē
First casualty hit in a roadside bomb for our platoon. Bob was killed instantly. John was thrown 15 feet
in the air. Itís a miracle that he survived it with only a broken collar bone and a concussion. Moral is really
low right now. Iím spending most of my time praying with those who are angry and scared, trying to make
sense in a senseless situation. Too tired to write anymore, got to get some sleep!
Went to the hospital to visit John today. Found him to be very confused and pretty emotional. He
kept saying he was sorry that he lost the ball game. I told him it was OK, that there would be other ball
games. This seemed to put him at ease. I found the Doctor and asked him what was going on. He said that
John had suffered TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury. The tests showed that he had a contusion which was
bruised brain tissue. Iíve heard about TBI, itís also called the ďsignature wound of the global war on terrorĒ,
Iíve just never seen it until today. Itís the unseen wound. It can take several different courses from mild,
hardly noticeable; to severe where the soldier will need someone to care for them the rest of their days. Itís
too early to tell what the outcome will be for John, he needs time. Time and prayer! I better get to the
computer and send out an email prayer request to the church family back home.
This isnít the end of the story, what you have just read is a small glimpse of the day in the life of our
service men and women fighting the war on terror. May this remind you to keep them uplifted in prayer!
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