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    John F. Kennedy Memorial Chapel stands strong as pillar in the U.S. Army Special Operations Community

    USAJFKSWCS Commanding General MG Roberson attends Heritage Sunday

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Keren-happuch Solano | Major General Patrick B. Roberson, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center...... read more read more

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. —For those in the Special Operations and Fort Bragg community, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Chapel has stood as a place of comfort during moments of happiness and moments of sorrow.

    The church, which is located near the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School campus, holds everything from Sunday services and weddings to baptisms and memorial services. Surrounding the chapel are memorials dedicated to the fallen Soldiers of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), both of which were reactivated on Fort Bragg, along with a tribute monument from John Wayne who starred in the film “The Green Berets.” Inside the chapel are plaques that honor nearly 500 soldiers who gave their lives in Vietnam. What makes this chapel unique to the U.S. Army is that it is the only chapel that is dedicated to the Special Operations community, which is shown throughout, through seven large stained-glass windows that were commissioned to use Biblical characters and historical character to tell the story of the Special Forces.

    Sgt. 1st Class Chris Patchen, SWCS Senior Religious Affairs NCO, said the JFK Chapel is a touchstone in a special operations soldier’s career since many students pass through assessment and selection, the qualification course, and come back for further schooling and training. “The chapel is still here, it’s still present in their career,” he said. The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Command Chaplain, Lt. Col. Brad Lee added, “The JFK chapel represents a constant reminder of God’s presence in this community and to individuals at both their times of success and also their times of grief and loss and everything else in between.”
    For more than 50 years, the historic chapel has become a place of belonging for many and for some, a lifelong commitment where marriage vows were exchanged. This past August, Chaplain Lee found himself holding an impromptu vow renewal for a couple that was married in the chapel 50 years ago. They were celebrating their 50th anniversary and wanted to take photos since there were no photos from their wedding. Chaplain Lee and Sgt. 1st Class Patchen gathered their resources to surprise the couple with a vow renewal before the couple headed home to Kentucky.

    On Sunday, the chapel held a special heritage commemoration in honor of the 54th anniversary of its dedication to John F. Kennedy. Through efforts of William P. Yarborough, former Commanding General of the Special Warfare Center and School, the chapel was built and dedicated on December 2, 1965. Charles E. Pimble, Director of the “Living Last Supper” at the JFK Chapel, arrived at Fort Bragg in 1983 when the JFK Chapel was full each Sunday. Since retiring in 1992, Mr. Pimble (affectionately known by ARSOF Soldiers and civilians for his Pimblegrams) has served as an Usher. He has recently noticed an increase and influx in the young soldiers who attend the chapel - many of whom are currently SWCS students. Mr. Pimble described the changes in the chapel to target the younger generation, but said, “It is all one voice.” Members of the congregation who were at the dedication in 1965 were honored as well as others who have attended for more than 25 years and others for more than 10 years. One special member, referred to as “Momma Tillman” or the “Mother of the church” has been attending since its dedication. Currently due to her health and age of 108, she attends when able and members visit her to celebrate her birthday.

    Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, SWCS Commanding General, and his wife Carolyn, attended the service to read the advent scripture and celebrate the vivid history of the JFK Memorial Chapel.

    The chapel continues to move forward and is currently in the planning phases for an annex expansion to help with overflow as well as additional support for religious services.



    Date Taken: 12.01.2019
    Date Posted: 12.10.2019 10:58
    Story ID: 354985
    Location: FORT BRAGG, NC, US 

    Web Views: 346
    Downloads: 1