Chaplains hone key leader engagement skills with new training

| November 20, 2015 | 0 Comments
Chaplain (Capt.) Jeff Herden, 2nd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID, takes part in a computer simulation, Nov. 12, which tests his key leader engagement skills with interactive questions. Originally used as a training resource for human intelligence collectors, this simulation has been refocused to train chaplains and their assistants.

Chaplain (Capt.) Jeff Herden, 2nd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID, takes part in a computer simulation, Nov. 12, which tests his key leader engagement skills with interactive questions. Originally used as a training resource for human intelligence collectors, this simulation has been refocused to train chaplains and their assistants.

Story and photo by Sgt. Ian Ives
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Chaplains from all units of the 25th Infantry Division met at the Mission Training Center (MTC), here, Nov. 12, to partake in a new training program designed to improve their key leader engagement skills.

One of an Army chaplain’s core duties is to advise his commander, during deployment, on the local population’s spiritual and basic living needs through key leader engagements. A first of its kind, this training program hones a chaplain’s key leader engagement skills through realistic scenarios.

Chaplain (Maj.) David R. Schlichter, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, developed this new variation of key leader engagement training.

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“This training came out of the recognition that chaplains are the lead advisers to commanders on religious affairs, and we as chaplains are lacking,” said Schlichter. “We do well at providing advisement of our own Soldiers, but are not as strong when dealing with foreign leaders and advisement to commanders. Seeing this, I began to devise a program to fix this shortcoming.”

After coordinating with the MTC and the 500th Military Intelligence Bde., Schlichter formulated training capable of giving chaplains and chaplains’ assistants the experience needed to interact with foreign community leaders.

“The base of this training was originally designed to train human intelligence collectors to interact with foreign nationals. After seeing this training, I thought to myself, ‘This wouldn’t take much adjusting to refocus this training towards chaplains.’”

The training consists of a computer simulation, organization of foreign community needs and realistic role-playing with two linguists. With this variation of training having never been done before, it was a new experience for many chaplains and their assistants.

Capt. Jeff Herder, the chaplain for 225th Aviation Regiment, 25th CAB, had never been exposed to training with either of the simulations.

“This kind of training is all new to me,” said Herder. “I did not realize the kind of technology we had could produce these kind of scenarios. I think, in the future, this training will help chaplains become more confident with their skills and raising the issues that we should be concerned about when advising our commanders.”

For the chaplains, this is invaluable training. When the need for key leader engagement arises during a deployment, they can execute it with precision.

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“We, as an Army, may not be deploying to war right now, but we will always be going somewhere within the world, and it is only a matter of when we will be in war next,” Schlichter said. “So will chaplains always have the skill set of real-life key leader engagement? With this training they will.”

Schlichter hopes the program will reach chaplains across the Army, resulting in an overall better-trained Chaplain Corps.

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Category: News, Training

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