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    Hammond relinquishes religious responsibility to Jeffries

    Hammond relinquishes religious responsibility to Jeffries

    Photo By Chuck Cannon | After the Change of Stole ceremony, those in attendance celebrated the 247th birthday...... read more read more

    FORT POLK, LA, UNITED STATES

    08.15.2022

    Story by Chuck Cannon 

    Fort Polk Public Affairs Office

    FORT POLK, La. — Chaplain (Col.) Scott Hammond relinquished his responsibility to Chaplain (Col.) Michael Jeffries during a “Change of Stole” ceremony held July 29 at Fort Polk’s Main Post Chapel.
    The ceremony, in which the Garrison Chaplain’s Stole passed from Hammond to Jeffries, harkens as far back as Old Testament times in II Kings 2:15, when Elijah transferred his prophetic authority to Elisha, represented by the passing of a mantle.
    Col. Sam Smith, Fort Polk garrison commander, who served as host of the ceremony and keynote speaker, said the Army’s Chaplain Corps, which celebrated its 247th birthday in conjunction with the ceremony, was established by the Continental Congress in 1775.
    “Those who serve in the Army Chaplain Corps have always done so as non-combatants,” Smith said. “They do not carry weapons, cannot direct combat operations or service as commanders.”
    Although non-combatants, Smith said chaplains have earned many awards for bravery, selfless service and valor, including the Medal of Honor. During World War II, four Army chaplains lost their lives helping service members survive a German torpedo attack on an Army transport ship. Twelve chaplains died during the Korean conflict and 13 were killed in action in Vietnam.
    Smith next turned his comments to Hammond.
    “The Chaplain Corps motto is ‘Pro Deo Et Patria’ – Latin for ‘God and Country,’” Smith said. “Like the motto, Chaplain Hammond has given his all so we can have the strength and spiritual fitness to be ready.”
    Hammond’s accomplishments while serving as Fort Polk’s spiritual leader include:
    •Developing a creative command master religious program that addresses the spiritual and religious needs of more than 34,000 Soldiers, Family members and Department of Defense civilians.
    •Executing superb religious support and expertly advising the command on freedom of religion, morale and ethics as impacted by religion.
    Smith next welcomed Jeffries, his spouse, Lori, and their sons, David and Zachary, who come to Fort Polk from an assignment at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
    “The senior commander, Brig. Gen. (David) Gardner and I are confident that Chaplain Jeffries is the right chaplain to follow Chaplain Hammond and will be the spiritual leader for all of our Soldiers, Families and civilians at JRTC and Fort Polk,” Smith said.
    Next to speak was Hammond, who thanked those who supported him and his Family during their tenure at Fort Polk.
    “Like a change of command, this ceremony represents something much larger than two individual chaplains standing on this platform,” Hammond said. “It shows the value the military places on our chaplains, religious affairs specialists and the Chaplain Corps. It also acknowledges God’s sovereignty over our nation, military and each of us as individuals.”
    Hammond likened the stole that he passed to Jeffries as symbolic of the towel that Christ used to wash the disciples’ feet in John 13, when the sovereign became the servant.
    “True greatness and happiness is found in the heart of a servant,” Hammond said. “Christ did not focus on Himself, but on others. He saw a need and took care of it, when no one else wanted to, without being asked. He led by example.”
    When it was Jeffries turn to speak, he thanked Fort Polk leadership for the opportunity to serve at the Home of Heroes.
    “I believe this is a divine calling and look forward to what God will do in our midst while we are here together,” Jeffries said. “I will give my best for this community to honor you as my co-laborers, loyalty to Brig. Gen. Gardner and Col. Smith, and love for the Soldier, Families and civilians of Fort Polk.”
    Following the ceremony, a reception was held at the Main Post Chapel in honor of the 247th birthday of the Chaplain Corps, complete with a catered meal and birthday cake.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.15.2022
    Date Posted: 08.16.2022 15:28
    Story ID: 427366
    Location: FORT POLK, LA, US 

    Web Views: 44
    Downloads: 0

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