News: Spirit comes to FOB Lightning
Story by Capt. Kenneth Stewart
FORWARD OPERATING BASE LIGHTNING, Afghanistan - The sound of singing warmed a cold night at Forward Operating Base Lightning.
Worshipers gathered to greet the FOB’s newest arrival, U.S. Army Capt. Karen Hallet of Vernon, N.J., a Protestant chaplain with Combined Joint Task Force 101.
FOB Lightning is too small to warrant a full-time chaplain, but Hallet is filling the void by travelling to the small outpost every other week.
The crowd that gathered to hear Hallet speak was small, but you wouldn’t have known it by the sound of their voices.
Worshipers sang both contemporary and traditional Christian hymns. The singing was accompanied by G6 adviser Mark Hubbard of Rehoboth Beach, Del., on guitar. Hubbard is a civilian contractor with OT Training Solutions. He plays guitar for both Protestant and Roman Catholic services.
In the two plus years Hubbard has been at FOB Lighting, he has seen a lot of chaplains come and go.
“I have played for six different chaplains,” said Hubbard.
After singing hymns and offering prayers, Hallet delivered a sermon about developing a personal relationship with God.
“How long has it been since you were hungry for God’s presence?” asked Hallet.
In addition to Protestant services, there is also a small Catholic service each week. There is rarely a priest available to minister to FOB Lightning’s Catholics; however lay leaders offer readings and short spiritual messages between visits by Catholic chaplains.
Normandy TAC2 Chief of Staff U.S. Army Lt. Col. Kevin Miller of Wilks-Barre, Pa., often performs the readings and offers words of encouragement during the weekly Catholic services.
“We’re a small group most nights, but it’s nice,” said Miller.
Recently, the Catholic service was offered by U.S. Army Spc. Kevin Kreiner of Anaoka, Minn. Kreiner is a reservist with the 319th Military Information Support and/or Operations. In his civilian life, Kreiner attends Saint John Vianney Seminary where he is studying to become a Catholic priest.
“I just felt the call,” said Kriener. “I want to give people access to God’s word.”
As service members and civilians serve far from home and family, services like those offered at FOB Lighting provide needed spiritual support. They also give worshipers a connection to home and provide a moment of peace in the midst of combat.