I headed home today after closeout formation at 1500H and reached Lexington, KY at around 2200H. I will spend the night here, and then continue with my travel back to Illinois so that I can be in the parish this weekend and be able to celebrate Masses with my parishioners on Sunday.
Phase I was different from CIMT in a lot of ways: I found the cadres more respectful of the students now that they have been “militarized”, there were less “study group sessions” during the weekends, the “accountability checks” were less intrusive, etc. I was not sure whether these changes were due to the fact that the student-chaplains were now considered to have reached a certain status after CIMT, or somebody in the past classes complained, or the new composition of the class and cadres brought a new way of doing things and relating with one another.
Personally I found it challenging, as a reservist joining a class that already spent almost a month together, to know all my classmates’ names and personal stories then leave them after two weeks.
Oftentimes chaplains have to lead worship services at a moment’s notice, when the schedule of the troops, for example, allowed only for a few minutes break. Sometimes these worship services were not even indoors but on the tarmac, the parking lot, in the middle of the forest, etc. Chaplains were taught to be ready for these circumstances, after all, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20, NIV).
CH Cho leading a field service
This morning’s event involved going to the confidence (obstacle course) and this visit took the place of our daily PT. A senior chaplain was witnessed having fun pouring water on the soil to make it muddier. So far, so good and no one got hurt.
The CH-BOLC Class 03-2010 were already immersed in their “Prayer Breakfast” preparations when I joined them for Phase 1, so I really had no contribution to the group in terms of volunteer hours and I really felt bad for that. However, they understood that I was coming in just for a two-week course (Phase 1) so they really did not expect a lot from me. Also, I was not the only one with this kind of arrangement. I admired the good work they have done to make the Prayer Breakfast a success. Although I could not remember what the speaker said, I remember that his words were gratefully received. Nonetheless it was a wonderful time for fellowship.
With a PNG Chaplain
I left Illinois yesterday for my CHBOLC (Phase 1) and drove seven hours to Lexington, KY where I spent the night. This morning I left Lexington early in the morning for another seven-hour trek to Columbia, SC where Fort Jackson is located. Upon arrival at Fort Jackson, I presented myself to Army Lodging with my orders, only to be told that there was no place in the inn, and that I was being banished to “Quality Inn” right outside the gates of Fort Jackson!
In a way it’s nice that I was living off-post, but it also meant I have to wake up early, bring all the things I will need for the day, and beat the early morning traffic at the main post gate. Because of the travel time between the school house and the hotel, going home for lunch will not be an option for now.
BOQ – Quality Inn