News: Chaplain spends holidays with frontline Marines in Afghanistan
Story by Cpl. Brian Adam Jones
FORWARD OPERATING BASE EDINBURGH, Afghanistan - The chaplain seemed to stop and consider something for just a moment before climbing into the guard post at Forward Operating Base Edinburgh, Afghanistan.
As he reached the top of the plywood ladder, a pair of worn combat boots peeked from under the wool blanket draped across post’s entrance.
“It’s the chaplain,” Navy Lt. Eric Hammen offered to the unseen Marine. “Happy New Year!”
As millions of Americans counted down to the New Year, Hammen flew by Marine Corps helicopter to this remote outpost in Helmand province.
It was New Year’s morning in Afghanistan, 9 ½ hours ahead of New York, and Lt. Eric Hammen, a chaplain with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), came to conduct a church service and visit with the Marines and coalition forces here.
“It’s always great to get out and see the Marines at the tip of the spear,” said Hammen, a native of Little Chute, Wis. “It’s important to me to be able to let them know that people are thinking about them and appreciate their sacrifice.”
Surrounded by rugged terrain and lacking comforts many take for granted, Edinburgh isn’t the ideal place to spend the holidays, but it was the second Sunday in a row the chaplain from Little Chute, Wis., spent at the base – he was there Christmas day as well.
“As a chaplain, the holidays are game time for us,” Hammen said. “To have the opportunity to go out and minister, that’s really special to me.”