LAGHMAN, Afghanistan – At seven thirty in the morning, many soldiers are working out, some may still be asleep, however, on Dec. 6, 2013, a group of soldiers and civilians came together for fellowship at Forward Operating Base Gamberi’s dining facility.
The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division’s Chaplain Office hosted a prayer breakfast. “The character of a leader” was the event’s focal topic.
“Character is the foundational building block for good leadership, because it’s with good positive character that you build trust and gain a positive influence over the people you serve with,” said Maj. Ned Bartlebaugh, chaplain, brigade chaplain, 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div.
The event officially began with Sgt. Maj. Brian Harmon, brigade combat team operations sergeant major, delivering a prayer for the 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. soldiers and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cecil Hughes offering a separate prayer for the families supporting [deployed soldiers] at Fort Polk, La.
The BCT commander and senior enlisted adviser and their subordinate battalion command teams were all present for the prayer breakfast.
“We’ve been deployed for about three to four months, so we’re in that middle mark,” said Bartlebaugh. “We have Christmas coming up and I felt like we needed to do something different that would take us from the daily grind but allow us to focus on something that would help us complete our mission.”
The 101st Jazz Trio performed during the welcoming portion of the event, followed by Spc. Richard Anderson, 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div., who sang two Christian songs.
One senior noncommissioned officer in attendance thought the event’s topic was fitting.
“At this point in a deployment… soldiers start missing their families and that’s when things that shouldn’t happen sometimes do,” said Master Sgt. Ronnie Rooks, food service adviser, 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. “So I think it’ s a message we all needed [in order] to give us that extra push to make it back home.”
Bartlebaugh chose this topic for a very specific reason.
“Each individual’s character, from private to general, has an impact and reflection on the unit as a whole,” said Bartlebaugh. “Everybody that’s here is a leader and we ought to be leaders of character in our homes, in the workplace or in the community, preferably all three.”
Fitting the chaplain’s focus of character extending past the gates of the Army, Rook’s definition of character is more about the person and less about the occupation.
“Character tells you who I am,” said Rooks. “It lets you know what I stand for, what I’m willing to accept, and what I’m willing to do and it’s something I won’t sacrifice.”