Fort Bliss celebrated the 238th anniversary of the Army Chaplain Corps by starting the morning with family Physical Readiness Training followed by a luncheon at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center Aug. 6.
More than 100 Soldiers, spouses and their children came together at Noel Field on West Fort Bliss for early morning physical training.
Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, commanding general for 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, and Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Charles R. Bailey, Army deputy chief of chaplains, were among the crowd of people ready to for some exercise.
The 1st AD unit ministry team led the revised PRT that involved circuit training, with each circuit station paying homage to different chaplains throughout history with a goal of completing 238 repetitions all together to commemorate the 238th anniversary of the Army Chaplain Corps.
“One station was called the Chaplain Charles Watters wide-arm pushups,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Darren Coleman, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st AD.
Chaplain (Maj.) Charles J. Watters served in the Vietnam War accompanying brigade line units into the battlefield, picking up the wounded and administering the sacraments to those who had fallen, ultimately sacrificing his own life.
“It’s a celebration of not only spiritual fitness, but physical fitness as well,” said Coleman.
“Comprehensive Soldier readiness is important in all aspects. We have to be physically fit to be out there with our troops.”
After what seemed to be a vigorous but fun work-out, breakfast and drinks were provided by the CAB to replenish the participants.
Later that day, Fort Bliss unit ministry teams and other guests gathered for a luncheon in the Austin Room at the Centennial in East Fort Bliss.
The program included a prelude from the 313th Reserve Band Ensemble followed by a video message from the chief of chaplains and a photo montage of the Chaplain Corps throughout history to the present.
The invocation was given by Chaplain (Maj.) Artie C. Maxwell Jr., assigned to the Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment.
After the lunch buffet and cake cutting ceremony, Spc. Sanica Staley, assigned to 72nd Brigade Support Battalion, 212th Fires Brigade, sang a musical tribute of “America the Beautiful.”
Guest speaker, Bailey talked about the history of the Corps and shared his personal experience in the chaplaincy. On a 2006 deployment, Bailey was the command chaplain for combined joint forces for all of Afghanistan with more than 350 unit ministry teams to manage.
Bailey admits he was overwhelmed in the beginning. One day, he wandered into an old Soviet Union building that was turned into a chapel. The service had already started, so he stood at the back. Bailey said he was amazed by the amount of people attending the service.
“Despite the weapons…all the hostility of the environment, there in this massive room standing in one accord saying praises to god asking for support and strength,” said Bailey. “That’s why I’m a chaplain.”
Bailey says at that moment he received affirmation.
“As history has proven, no matter what, religion is part of our culture. It has a huge impact and influence in giving us hope and direction in our life. It’s a personal choice,” he said.
MacFarland presented Bailey with a gift, thanking him for his service and for visiting Fort Bliss to commemorate the Corps’ anniversary.