News: ‘Lifeline’ Battalion Soldiers gather for faith, fellowship at battalion prayer luncheon
Story by: Capt. Jacqueline Ralston
BAGHDAD — Recently, Americans honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., a man who preached of hope, dreams and faith. In keeping with King’s message, soldiers with the 299th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center hosted a battalion prayer luncheon Jan. 22, focused on faith and reaching one’s dreams.
Soldiers and leaders with the battalion gathered at the Engineer Chapel at Camp Liberty, Iraq, to talk, pray and find inspiration to maintain faith in their professional and personal lives.
Throughout the luncheon, soldiers enjoyed food, fellowship and music provided by the Gospel Service Choir.
“The choir got everyone up and moving around, clapping to the beat of the songs,” said Pfc. Leanna M. Cox, with the 299th BSB, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div. and a Vincent, Ohio, native.
“The music reminded me of home,” she said. “I associate music with moods and when the choir played happy, upbeat songs, I too felt happy and refreshed.”
Lt. Col. Dale Farrand, commander of the 299th BSB, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div. and a Billings, Mont., native, spoke at the luncheon. Farrand cited Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale, a Medal of Honor recipient and former prisoner of war in Vietnam, as a prime role model because he retained faith in spite of tremendous adversity.
“I never lost faith in the end of the story,” Farrand said, quoting Stockdale. “I never doubted, not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life.”
Farrand said that unwavering faith is what makes Stockdale a role model for service members.
“Vice Adm. Stockdale’s faith was so strong that he did not make false promises to himself about when he would be released,” Farrand said. “He simply knew he would prevail.”
Farrand asked those attending the luncheon to have faith, to go a step further and to make a difference in their own lives, the lives of their peers, subordinates and families.
Capt. Diana Crane, chaplain with the 299th BSB, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div. and a Portland, Ore., native, provided individuals with a spiritual perspective of faith and dreams.
Crane said at times, individuals allow fears, both small and large, to hinder their faith and prevent them from achieving their dreams.
“Nothing can separate us from the love that God has for us,” she said. “We are more than conquerors when we remember that God is with us. Whatever dreams you have, whatever goals you are working toward, do not let fear get in the way. No fear can separate you from the love that makes you a conqueror.”
Cox said she enjoyed the luncheon and plans to attend more in the future.
“I thought it was a good way to come together, not as soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers, but as an Army family,” she said. “Everyone came together and was there for the same reason—spiritual guidance.”