1st Air Cav Chaplains Build Partnerships in Romania | News
CONSTANTA, Romania – Chaplains from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade sat down with Romanian religious leaders to establish access to religious services for soldiers of various religious traditions Feb. 2.
U.S. Army chaplains provide reliable, relevant, world-class religious support to enhance the readiness of all soldiers. When specific religious services are not available on the military installation, chaplains find a way to resource them in the local community and create partnerships to meet the spiritual needs of soldiers.
“One of our primary responsibilities is to provide religious support,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Robert Jackson, brigade chaplain for 1st Air Cav, Bde. “We do this either by personally offering religious services within our faith or by finding that support from other sources.”
To help fulfill this obligation, Chaplain (Captain) Tim McMeans of the 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, a Protestant Christian chaplain, arranged meetings with the mufti (clerk) of the Constanta Muslim Cultural Center and a Eastern Orthodox priest. of St. Nectarie Orthodox Church, hoping to coordinate religious support for Islamic and Orthodox soldiers, either by having them deliver the services or by transporting the soldiers to a location off base.
Spiritual readiness is an essential part of individual resilience and overall unit readiness. Established in 1775, the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps develops subject matter experts in building spiritual readiness by putting “people first.”
“The Army Chaplain Program is a way to support all soldiers,” Jackson described. “We are the religious advisers of the command and we apply the religious program of the commander.”
Religious traditions are woven throughout the fabric of culture and society. While performing their primary duties, chaplains sow positive diplomatic relations in areas where the U.S. military operates. During their meetings in Romania, the chaplains discovered that their Romanian counterparts were also prominent figures in government and academia.
“After our session, Mufti Iusuf left for a meeting with the Romanian parliament, telling me about his position in society,” Jackson said. “Father Nadoleanu (Orthodox priest) is also a well-established university professor of psychology and a published scholar.”
“Both men are leaders who have great influence in local society and culture,” Jackson noted. “They see army chaplains as religious liaisons and naturally gravitate towards us as being in the same sphere of influence as them; making those relationships even stronger.
“Father Nadoleanu directly influences the future leaders of Romania,” McMeans said. “Our continued relationship with him will no doubt positively influence his view of the US Army mission as well as how he communicates that mission to his students.”
“Our visit will have a lasting impact on how our host country’s religious partners view and understand our soldiers and the religious leaders of the U.S. military,” McMeans said when asked about the potential involvement of these partnerships. “The connections would not be possible without the specific goals of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and our mission to build positive relationships with faith partners around the world.”