Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I just finished your memoir, Gun - Totin' Chaplain.  Thanks for writing it; I thoroughly enjoyed it.  My difficulty in reading a true accounts, i.e. books and soldier stories, is that I start questing my recollection and that is a healthy thing.  Some how I thought you deployed with the division in Dec. of 68.  My first day on the ground as 3rd Platoon Leader with Delta Company was March 30, 68.  I believe you arrived in May 68 and one of my platoon members,   Roger Underwood  recalls your participation in one of our 3rd Platoon ambushes.  If that was you it had to be mid to late May.  Underwood was wounded on his birthday 26 May 68.  I remember the Chapel at LZ Sally and the Chapel/Church at Bien Hoa.  FSB Mongoose I thought was between Hueand Coco Beach.  I don't recall a FSB Sandy or Sandy Star.


I believe I recall reading an article in Time Magazine about the "Gun - Totin' Chaplain after I returned home sometime in the Summer of 69.  Thanks again for the great read and please be patient with my confusion.  I am attempting to fill in the gaps in "My Story."  I had a much narrow experience in being the 3rd Platoon Leader for 7+ months then the XO and relief CO all with Delta CO 1/501. 


I will miss not visiting with you at the 40th Reunion at Ft. Campbell this June.  As I told you before, you are my HERO.  You always raised my spirits when I encountered you and that was an incredible gift in caring.  At one point as XO I really missed you when you were reassigned down south at Bien Hoa.  I wanted your guidance in helping me break bad news to a 3rd Platoon Soldier who's younger brother and sister drowned in a pond at their family ranch inOklahoma.  I was extremely judgmental since I thought your replacement Chaplain was a wimp and I don't believe he was respected by the troops as you were.  I describe this as one of the toughest tasks.  I wish you were there to do it for me.  I did it by speaking from the heart.  We cried, we hugged and I emptied my wallet as he headed to the Red Cross representative then home to attend the funeral and grieve with his family.


Well thanks again for writing your story.



Friday, July 26, 2013


I've thought more and more about this. I really think that much of the problem that present day chaplains have is that we don't have anybody at the top
lobbying for us--advocating for the uniqueness of the chaplaincy. The Chief of Chaplains is probably a good guy but what I have seen for years is a lack of leadership. We all know that being a chaplain in the military is far more than religious activities. Immediately when this controversy arose, if it is a real one and not a manufactured one from Fox News or somewhere--the advocacy should be that the Army Chaplaincy is not the same as the AF or Navy. The Army Chief of Chaplains should have been doing press releases or anything, talking to anybody who would listen, how Army chaplains are assigned to "Units" and not like the AF and Navy who are assigned to bases or ships. Vast difference. The Chaplaincy is a vital part of the military's "readiness." The Army Chief should find some commander and get a quote like in the 82d, "I'd give up any officer in this decision before I'd give up my chaplain." But, what the chiefs do as far as I see is wring their hands. What have they got to be afraid of? 

I've said this before but when Dave was the 18th Abn Corp Chaplain, he had a chaplain who did his PAO stuff. You couldn't breathe unless Dave was putting out some press release. Even today, you can go to Fayetteville, NC and any civilian can tell you all about the chaplaincy. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


As to your last comment, isn't it said that religion is the opiate of the masses...

I did want to comment on the above. As a very earthy type, I would respond relatively speaking, as examples with these 8-12 guys I hang out with. We are together about three breakfasts a week. We've been hanging out for years. There are a couple of lapsed Catholics, five or six proclaimed atheists, a Jew who is now a Zen Buddhist and then another of some other brand of Buddhist. And, when they asked me if I am a Christian, what they mean is not the, "are you saved, washed in the blood, etc," they mean, what is my religion? 

Fortunately for me being a Christian has always been easy. I haven't  wrestled with issues like some. I  embraced early and accept it as faith. And, have always seen it that way: can't prove it, etc. You either believe or you don't and I really have, as you would say, no dog in the hunt. I don't care, not in a callous way; what you believe. It is up to you. Having said that, my experience, which I often share in these heavy discussions, is that in crisis, to believe in the hereafter, for example, is comforting, regardless of one's beliefs or lack thereof. I think Americans are spiritual people and may be more cultural than anything. My dad (or mom), for instance, never went to church. Yet, Dad insisted that I go because he believed it was a good socializing experience.

It is why we say, everybody from the president on down, "our prayers are with you." Do we really mean we are praying? No, not really, it is an expression. My seminary professor and mentor, Dr. Boyce, use to say, "if you want to know my beliefs, I will tell you. If you want to argue, I don't have time." I had much rather be hanging out with a bunch of self proclaimed non-believers than a bunch of fundamentalist Christians. Religion in American life is very strange, I think. For instance, we do not have a single Protestant on the Supreme Court, yet very hard core Catholics. Roberts goes to Mass every single day. Does that influence his decisions. I think so. God bless (an expression) LOL. My best to Jerry.