Monday morning. I was not sure what to expect. I did not know anybody either. Just so I won’t be late for class at 0700H, I scouted the location the previous night and found it to be within a mile or so from my BOQ. After the pep talk by the commandant, we were divided into four platoons and were introduced to our platoon “Senior Group Leaders” (SGLs). There were about 175 students total. Later on I realized that there were only three Roman Catholic priests in the group!
My home for the next three weeks is an old building called Kennedy Hall. It is one of the “hotels” inside the post where unaccompanied soldiers may stay for the duration of their training. The accommodation is not bad (similar to Motel 9) although it is about a mile hike from the school house.
My first Sunday morning at Fort Jackson was spent in the Post Chapel where I assisted at the celebration of Holy Mass upon the invitation of Fr (MAJ) Kelly, the Post Chaplain. After the Mass, the Catholic congregation continued the celebration with a simple breakfast which was open to everybody. It was a wonderful opportunity to interface with the local Catholic leaders and parishioners, and meet the soldiers who attend Mass at the main post chapel.
Woke up early this morning and drove out of the rectory while still dark, for a 14-hour travel to Fort Jackson which is in Colombia, SC. There I will attend “Chaplain Initial Military Training” (CIMT) for three weeks together with male and female clergy from different religious tradition according to the US Army’s finest tradition of religious pluralism.