Capt. Richard Barker
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — The appearance of the new moon July 20 marked the beginning of this year’s Ramazan, a sacred holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world.
Soldiers of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, work in partnership with Muslim soldiers participating in this celebration from the Kandahar Air Wing, the 2nd Afghan National Civil Order Patrol Special Weapons and Tactics Team, the 4th KANDAK of the Afghan National Army, and the United Arab Emirates.
“This holiday is compared to our Christmas and Easter time,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Kent Walker, chaplain, 25th CAB.
During Ramazan, which will last through Aug. 19, Muslims will go without food, drink or intimate activity during daylight hours. Fasting is a process of purification, with the goal of attaining the consciousness of Allah and guarding against the schemes of Shaitan, or Satan.
“We try as a culture not to be offensive, so what we try to do is respect fasting during this time,” Walker said. “When we are with our partners, we also go without food and water.”
Ramazan, considered the month of the Quran, is also a time for Muslims to reflect, show kindness, practice self restraint and display extra appreciation toward Allah.
“Our Afghan partners will do more daily prayers during this time, so those of us who work with them need to be prepared,” Walker said. “For example, we may need to get up earlier to eat a meal before meeting with them.”
One company that is adjusting its training out of respect for its Afghan partners is Headquarters Support Company, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, 25th CAB, which conducts maintenance training for soldiers of the Kandahar Air Wing.
“We are going to be conducting training in the mornings for two hours,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Garland, battalion maintenance officer, HSC, 209th ASB, 25th CAB.
“We adjusted the training from a knowledge-base to hands-on,” Garland said. “They will be getting drivers training during Ramazan, and then after we will transition back to an academic portion.”
Previously HSC, 209th ASB, 25th CAB, conducted training in the afternoons, but because Muslims participating in Ramazan can only eat breakfast before sunrise, conducting morning training while they still have energy is more convenient.
“This time of fasting is a time of spiritual growth,” Walker said. “It’s not laborious for them; it’s a special time for them. I hope that Soldiers will be aware this is a special time for their spiritual journey.”
Traditionally following Ramazan, Muslims gather for a large meal in celebration of their successes during their period of restraint. This year, the 25th CAB plans to participate in this celebration by inviting Soldiers from partnered units to join for a feast.