NEWS | March 20, 2017

7th MSC Chaplains are ready for “Muddy Boots” Ministry

By Sgt. Daniel J. Friedberg 7th Mission Support Command

Capt. Matthew P. Reves learned a key lesson a year ago he will take with him on an upcoming deployment.

As a member of a two-Soldier ministry team, Reves, commander of the 89th Chaplain Detachment, 7th Mission Support Command, will deploy soon with his Chaplain’s Assistant, Staff Sgt. Lamar Turner of Newport News, Va.

Turner is an experienced combat veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq, where he saw action with the 10th Mountain Division on tours in 2006 and 2008.

During training in 2016, Reves bent over the bleeding Soldier after a simulated ambush attack last year, and then he did what his instincts as a clergyman told him was right, he took the Soldier by the hand and began reading prayers out of his Bible.

One of the instructors at the Army’s Combat Medical Ministry Course at the Army Medical Department Center and School at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, witnessed the attack asked Reves why he didn’t apply a tourniquet to the injured Soldier.

“This is my job, this is what I do…I comfort the Soldier,” answered Reves.

“So you don’t save life and limb first?” asked the trainer.

That was when the trainer told Reves he had failed his first evaluation as a Chaplain in a simulated battle.

Although Chaplains do not carry a weapon into battle, the Army still expects Reves to survive as a Soldier.

“Just because I’m a non-combatant doesn’t mean that I don’t try to save lives,” said Reves.

Reves explained that his training at AMDCS emphasized the balance between providing spiritual support versus medical support to a potential combat casualty.

“So they taught us how to apply tourniquets first, and as you treat the wounded, then you can minister to them,” said Reves.

Reves and Turner are training in preparation for an upcoming deployment where they will emphasize and refresh combat survival and combat lifesaving skills.

“We want to be routine in moving as a unit,” explained Reves.

Turner, as a chaplain’s assistant, is trained to provide security as the chaplain does his work.

“I have to be trained in absolute tactical basics,” Reves said. “I want to be trained in a way that I know how to follow his movements.”

Reves said Turner may be expected to actually clear buildings before Reves can attend to Soldiers.

“I’m really following his lead, the combat professional,” Reves said.
But, Turner’s tactical abilities are just one of the abilities he will use during the upcoming future deployment.

“You want to take all the admin duties away from the Chaplain, so that they’re free to roam,” said Turner. “On the staff side, we handle setting up meetings and briefing the commander.”

Turner explained that it’s also his job to understand the religious demographics of a deployed unit so that Reves can better provide support. Often. Soldiers have different spiritual concerns.

“People are not just psychological beings, we’re spiritual beings,” said Reves.

Reves said that he feels it’s his calling to help others answer the fundamental questions that occupy everyone at some time in his or her life.

“When we talk about religious support, we’re really addressing deep personal needs,” said Reves. “We are the integration of two main roles.”

The chaplain team members are spiritual leaders to the Soldiers and advisors to the commander, he said.

“Muddy boots ministry,” said Reves of the duties facing him and Turner. “We go out in the field where the Soldiers are.”