News: Chaplain draws from 9-11 motivation, inspires soldiers
Story by Staff Sgt. Jason Thompson
By Capt. Robert Au Buchon
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – Maj. Bob Patton, the chaplain for 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, of Portsmouth, Va., dedicates his time and service to helping the soldiers of Task Force-183.
Patton called to serve soldiers early in his life, joined the Army in 1984 as an infantry officer in several roles to include commanding an infantry company at Fort Benning, Ga., prior to leaving the Army in 1993 to pursue his dream of becoming a minister.
“My wife and I believed that God was leading us into full-time ministry to serve couples and families,” Patton said of his decision to leave the military.
Patton, deeply affected by the Sept. 11 Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks, sought a way to return to the military and reduce the impact of sustained conflict on Army soldiers and their families.
After several years of working for the Campus Crusade for Christ and a civilian job working at Fort Lee, Va., Patton joined the Virginia Army National Guard October 2009.
“During the longest sustained conflict in our nation’s history the stress of family separated by multiple deployments brought into clear focus the role and the need for chaplains,” he said. “My hope and desire was, if the Army, to assist soldiers, could use my experience of 14 years of ministry and Army families that God would open the doors for me to return to serve our nation. Every soldier deserves a chaplain.”
When not activated, Patton works full time as the Protestant director for religious education at Fort Lee and has day-to-day to contact with soldiers and their families. Patton’s role at Fort Lee is to serve alongside the installation and unit chaplains to meet the Protestant religious education needs of the Fort Lee community.
Now deployed to Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq, Patton provides religious services to the task force and meets with every convoy before the soldiers leaves on missions and offers an opportunity to pray, hoping to provide a calming influence on a sometimes-frenetic environment.