Story by: Capt. Taylor Criswell, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade Public Affairs
CONSTANTA, Romania – 1st Air Cavalry Brigade chaplains sat down with Romanian faith leaders to establish religious service access for Soldiers of various faith traditions, Feb. 2, 2022.
U.S. Army Chaplains provide reliable and relevant world-class religious support to enhance the readiness of all Soldiers. When specific religious services are not available on the military installation, Army Chaplains find a way to resource them in the local community and create partnerships to meet Soldiers’ spiritual needs.
“One of our primary responsibilities is to afford religious support,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Robert Jackson, brigade chaplain for 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. “We do that by either personally offering religious services within our faith or we find that support from other sources.”
To help fulfill this obligation, Chaplain (Capt.) Tim McMeans of 3rd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, a chaplain of the Protestant Christian faith, set up meetings with the Mufti (Cleric) of the Muslim Cultural Center in Constanta and an Eastern Orthodox priest of the St. Nectarie Orthodox Church in hopes of coordinating religious support for Islamic and Orthodox Soldiers, by either having the services brought to them or transporting the Soldiers to an off-base location.
Spiritual readiness is a critical component of individual resiliency and overall unit readiness. Established in 1775, the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps develops subject matter experts in building spiritual readiness by putting “People First.”
“The Army Chaplain program is a means for providing for all Soldiers,” described Jackson. “We are the religious advisor to the command and we action the commander’s religious program.”
Religious traditions are weaved through the entire fabric of culture and society. While accomplishing their primary duties, chaplains sow positive diplomatic ties in areas where the U.S. Army operates. During their meetings in Romania, the chaplains discovered that their Romanian counterparts were also prominent figures in government and academia.
“After our session, Mufti Iusuf left for a meeting with the Romanian parliament, indicating to me his position in society,” said Jackson. “Father Nadoleanu (Orthodox Priest) is also a well-established university professor of psychology and a published scholar.”
“Both men are leaders who have great influence in the local society and culture,” Jackson noted. “They see Army Chaplains as religious liaisons and naturally gravitate towards us as being in the same sphere of influence they are; making these relationships even stronger.”
“Father Nadoleanu directly influences the future leaders of Romania,” stated McMeans. “Our continued relationship with him will no doubt have a positive influence on his view of the U.S. Army mission as well as how he communicates this mission to his students.”
“Our visit will have a lasting impact on how religious partners in our host country view and understand our Soldiers and U.S. Army religious leaders,” McMeans elaborated when asked about the potential implication of these partnerships. “The connections would not be possible were it not for the specific objectives of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and our mission to establish positive relations with religious partners around the world.”