Sunday, September 14, 2003

Ft. Carson, CO

The first month we lived humbly in a warehouse filled with hundreds of people. After that we were able to move into climate-controlled 12-person tents. The restrooms / showers are OK. The food here is great, sometimes better than I have at the Fort Carson, CO Dining Facility. Now that the main part of the war is over, we have the options of eating at Burger King, Subway, Pizza Inn, Baskin Robbins, an Asian restaurant, etc. We have drycleaners available and quartermasters to do our laundry for us, or we can use a free laundromat. The lines used to be long at the Post Exchange (store), until they opened up another one. There are Morale, Welfare and Recreation tents with gym equipment, big screen TVs for movies and the news, etc. Think of a state fair, and you get the idea. Living in the rear can be comfortable, even in the midst of 120+ degree heat and dust. I pray daily for those who have it harder in Iraq!

I have been spiritually encouraged here. We outgrew our 100-person chapel tent, and started services in a permanent chapel building. God donated a sound system and instruments to us through others. We have about twenty-five services / events a week. I have helped with preaching, with leading worship, and a Basics of Christianity Class (The Alpha Course). The Gospel service has 500+ in attendance. They had to meet in a theater due to their growth. Some would say revival is happening here, which is understandable because of our location. Similar stories can be told by our chaplains in Iraq.

When the war started, we had hourly SCUD alerts at night when we had to put on all of our protective equipment and get into bunkers. This became irritating very quickly. Thank God nothing hit us! One night I was woken up at 2am by an explosion, which turned out to be a missile missing a shopping mall in Kuwait City (north of us) and ending up in the Persian Gulf. Again, thank God no one was injured!

I was able to spend five days in southern Iraq with my assistant. We flew a Chinook helicopter (my first time - cool!) to check on one of our companies. We intended to be there overnight, but due to sandstorms, we weren't able to return until tonight. I was able to see Abraham's ziggurat (pyramid) in Ur of the Chaldees , in between the Tigris and Euphrates river. It wasn't as comfortable in Iraq. Remember, the average income in Kuwait is $20,000 / year. In Iraq, it's only $500 / year. Saddam must have kept a lot to himself! We saw people selling wares on the side of the roads. We didn't have air-conditioning, and we had to use outhouses, had simple meals, etc. I salute those who have had to be there for a long time. I went to nightly services on top of a roof, which was a first. I'm glad I was able to visit.

I grieve for those in the Coalition forces who have lost their lives in this war, and I pray for their families and friends. I realize there is a cost to war, economically and with lives. I pray it ends soon, and that God will be with the families and friends of the grieving Iraqis as well. I pray that the people here will not just be “foxhole believers” but continue to grow in their faith after they return home. We are bound together in the principles of the Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-service, Honor, Integrity and Personal courage (LEADERSHIP). I am privileged to have had a small part in this war, to be able to "listen, encourage, and support soldiers and their families. I perform and provide for religious services. I nurture the living, care for the wounded, and honor the dead, Pro Deo Et Patria! (For God and Country!)"

68th Corps Support Battalion Prayer

Eternal God, We thank you for the great history of the 68th CSB. We ask that you continue to be with our Commander In Chief, Our Group Commander, our Battalion Commander, our Command Sergeant Major, our officers and Non-Commissioned officers, and the rest of our soldiers. Thank you for our food, clothing, shelter, our job, health, family and friends. We ask that you continue to provide these, and give us wisdom, safety, victory and peace. Be with our family and friends, and may we be able to communicate frequently with them. Give us a future and a hope in You. In Your Holy Name we pray, Amen.

Chaplain Satterfield and SPC Whiteaker in OIFI.