News: Touch of home: Visit out of Afghanistan
Story by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Every Sunday morning at the South Park Chapel on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, soldiers, contractors, and Department of Defense employees are encompassed by sounds of joyful music and encouraging thoughts during the weekly religious service.
Maj. Kent Walker, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade chaplain, conducts these services with assistance from other chaplains throughout the brigade and airfield to bring a touch of home to the atmosphere.
“Our service draws a blend of soldiers and civilians in from all over,” Walker said. “Everyone who attends our service comes at different places of spiritual guidance or needs. This service gives them encouragement to keep going when they are away from home.”
This particular Sunday service consisted of the usual song and words of worship along with food provided by one of the Dining Facilities on KAF.
“When you attend a church service at home, you usually have a Sunday brunch after service,” said Staff Sgt. Veronica Ashley, chaplain assistant, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, 25th CAB.
“People either miss the service to have breakfast or miss breakfast to attend the service, so today we gave them the opportunity to have a good breakfast while attending the service. Today we gave the people who attended a little taste of home, a visit out of Afghanistan for a brief time.”
The food choices were two different kinds of eggs, five choices of meat, pancakes, muffins, hash browns, cereal, and various kinds of fruit. The chaplains fed 130 people while still providing a full service with preaching and music from “The Blend,” a group of soldiers and contractors who volunteered to perform songs of worship.
“Our services are not limited to just the congregation, anyone who is on Kandahar Airfield is welcome to attend,” Ashley said. “We provide an environment outside of work where they can relax and worship however they want to.”
Since the chapel is located close to the Residential Living Barracks, it offers an ideal location for soldiers on KAF to attend a religious service with uplifting music.
“It was a great service with good music and sermon,” said Sgt. Leslie Mosley, a CH-47 door gunner from Company B, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment currently attached to 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th CAB. “The food was good. It helped ease the mood for everyone who attended. I have not seen breakfast at a service before; it is a good idea.”
Although this breakfast and service was intended for the Fourth of July, it is just the first of many that 25th CAB chaplains have planned within the CAB.