‘Tropic Lightning’ transfers spiritual leadership role

| July 6, 2012 | 0 Comments
Chap. (Col.) Mike Dugal (center), chaplain, USARPAC, says a prayer of consecration over Chap. (Lt. Col.) Scott Hammond (left), outgoing chaplain, 25th ID, and Chap. (Lt. Col.) Randy Kirby, incoming chaplain, 25th ID, during the change of stole ceremony, held at Soldier’s Chapel, Schofield Barracks, June 26.

Chap. (Col.) Mike Dugal (center), chaplain, USARPAC, says a prayer of consecration over Chap. (Lt. Col.) Scott Hammond (left), outgoing chaplain, 25th ID, and Chap. (Lt. Col.) Randy Kirby, incoming chaplain, 25th ID, during the change of stole ceremony, held at Soldier’s Chapel, Schofield Barracks, June 26.

Story and Photo by
Sgt. 1st Class Krishna Gamble
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Just as the mantle was passed from Elijah to Elisha as described in I and II Kings of the Bible, the change of stole ceremony held June 26 at Soldiers Chapel, here, marked the transition of spiritual leadership for the 25th Infantry Division as Chap. (Lt. Col.) Randy Kirby assumed the duties as Lightning Shepherd from Chap. (Lt. Col.) Scott Hammond.

The stole symbolizes God’s authority, and the transfer of it represents the transfer of spiritual servitude and leadership. In ancient times, ministers accompanied Soldiers into battle, representing God and seeking his guidance, blessings and protection for the leaders and Soldiers. For military chaplains, that role has increased to include various types of training, counseling and outreach programs.

“‘For God and country’ is the motto of the chaplaincy, and it illustrates the key role chaplains play in providing spiritual comfort to Soldiers in need,” said Maj. Gen. Kurt Fuller, commander, 25th ID.

“Our chaplains continue to nurture the living, care for our wounded and honor our dead, but their duties have expanded dramatically,” Fuller said. “In every case, our chaplains and (unit ministry teams) have met the challenge and performed superbly,” Fuller said.

Hammond, who has served as the 25th ID spiritual leader since January 2010, and his family, will continue their spiritual and military service in Vicenza, Italy.

“In John 13 (of the Bible), you read what has been the epitome of leadership for me,” Hammond said. “We should wrap the stole around us and serve as Jesus served.

“Thank you for your friendship, your love and for the privilege of serving you,” he said.

Kirby and his family return to the 25th ID after serving most recently as a unit chaplain in Washington, D.C. He pledged to keep Christ at the center of his ministry and keep things in perspective as “some things just don’t matter.”

“I desire to make myself available to you and be what you need me to be,” Kirby said. “I will pray for the commanders in their daily decision, pray for every Soldier and family member daily, and pray for the unit ministry teams daily.”

“There are four distinct characteristics that both (Hammond) and (Kirby) possess: brokenness, uncommon communion, servant leader as an identity, and a desire for quick, radical obedience to God’s will,” said Chap. (Col.) Mike Dugal, chaplain, U.S. Army-Pacific.

“It’s my prayer that a double portion of the same spirit is given to Kirby,” Fuller said. “I charge you to carry the torch that protects our Soldiers’ right to religious freedom, to faithfully lead our division unit ministry teams and carry on the mandate of providing ‘religious leadership for the Army … courageous in spirit, compassionate in service.’”

Army chaplains are professionals specially trained to serve any spiritual need, regardless of religious affiliation, by offering pastoral care and supporting religious rights and needs. Military chaplains also advise their commanders on issues of religion, ethics, morale and morals, and liaise with local religious leaders.

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