News: 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team hosts Taji-wide marriage enrichment seminar
Story by Sgt. John Stimac
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE TAJI, Iraq — The 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team's unit ministry council hosted a base-wide, marriage-enrichment seminar and cookout Feb. 11 in the Warrior Chapel at Contingency Operating Base Taji, Iraq.
The seminar marks the last event for the unit ministry team, as the 155th HBCT, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) sets to re-deploy in the beginning of March.
Maj. Terry Partin, brigade chaplain with the 155th and a Richton, Miss., native, said the seminar's goal was to encourage Soldiers to think about their marriages and commit to them before re-deploying home.
"People change while you're gone," he said. "Spouses become more independent, have new friends and it can be tough, even for the best of marriages."
Partin said he wants people to think about their marriages and not expect an easy transition.
The event featured a showing of the movie "Fireproof," which addresses marital problems in the midst of high-stress situations.
"After the movie, we are going to give Soldiers time to talk and share their feelings and concerns for when they re-deploy back to the states."
Staff Sgt. Geoff C. Wagner, chaplain assistant noncommissioned officer in charge with the 155th HBCT and a Saltillo, Miss., native, said the 155th hosted a barbeque to help draw more people to the event, as it incorporated several units. He said he learned how to make Cajun-style ribs from a five-star chef, and he made them and homemade guacamole for the occasion.
Because this was the 155th's last event, they wanted to make it special, Wagner said.
Partin said they received a lot of support from the family support group in Mississippi and from the 198th Combined Arms Battalion's family support group as well.
"The family support group rallied the communities back home and they had shipped multiple copies of 'Fireproof' and other books, along with all kinds of food items," he said.
Wagner said he believes this event is special because it is family driven.
"Our last deployment, we had a very high rate of divorce among married Soldiers," he said. "Not a lot was done last time to give Soldiers tools to enrich their marriage."
Partin said Valentine's Day made this the perfect time for such an event.
"Maybe after the class, Soldiers will take the extra effort to phone their spouses or send them a gift to show their appreciation and love for them," he said.