McChrystal gives keynote talk at prayer breakfast

| March 23, 2017 | 0 Comments
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Chaplain and retired Col. Scott McChrystal delivers the keynote speech at the 25th Infantry Division's 2017 National Prayer Breakfast on March 15 at the Nehelani Center on Schofield Barracks. (U.S. Army photo by Karen A. Iwamoto, Oahu Publications)

Chaplain and retired Col. Scott McChrystal delivers the keynote speech at the 25th Infantry Division’s 2017 National Prayer Breakfast on March 15 at the Nehelani Center on Schofield Barracks. (U.S. Army photo by Karen A. Iwamoto, Oahu Publications)

Story and photo by
Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The Army community came together, here, for food and fellowship during the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii Prayer Breakfast on March 15.

Chaplain (retired colonel) Scott McChrystal, an Infantry officer with the Americal Division during the Vietnam War and the military/veterans affairs representative for the Assemblies of God, delivered the keynote address.

He referenced the uncertainty that faces today’s service members in their communities, in their nation and in the world at large.

“Technology. Health care. Taxes. I guess I should throw in politics, throw in religion. … There’s a whole lot going on,” he said. “It’s kind of like what they taught in War College. Ambiguity, uncertainty, just a whole bunch of stuff we don’t know as we try to look at the future and wonder what in the world is around the corner.”

But he urged his audience not to give in to the false evidence of fear, the type of thinking that generates worst-case scenarios that make things seem hopeless.

“People have always had challenging times,” he said. “So the way I look at it, we don’t have to dread the times we live in. That’s really not going to help.”

He cited the Psalm of David:
The Lord is my shepherd.
I shall not want.

“Why did the (men of Ithaca) understand their times? The Bible didn’t really explain much, but I have a sneaking hunch. It’s because they turned to the Lord, and they gained some wisdom.”

Still, even as he made his case for faith in uncertain times, he did not gloss over the challenges facing today’s Soldiers.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS Ñ Guests attend the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii Prayer Breakfast, at the Nehelani Banquet & Conference Center, March 15, 2017. The Army community came together for food and fellowship during the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii Prayer Breakfast on March 15. Chaplain (retired colonel) Scott McChrystal, an infantry officer with the Americal Division during the Vietnam War and the military/veterans affairs representative for the Assemblies of God, delivered the keynote address. (U.S. Army photo by Karen A. Iwamoto, Oahu Publications)

Guests attend the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii Prayer Breakfast, at the Nehelani Banquet & Conference Center, March 15. (U.S. Army photo by Karen A. Iwamoto, Oahu Publications)

“I’m not going to tell those of you who went to Ranger School because you didn’t go when I did, ‘Boy it’s just not like it used to be.’ No. Ranger School is Ranger School. And the challenges you have both in the military and in the civilian world, believe me, are complex. I respect that. But I can tell you this is not the first generation that thought it had the most challenging issues,” he said.
“How would you like to have lived during the Civil War? I can’t even imagine what that was like when I walk the battlefields,” he said.

He returned to King David – a shepherd, a warrior and a king who was described as “a man after God’s own heart” – as someone who could give each person in the audience a renewed perspective through understanding that they each have a purpose in life and were each created purposefully by the Creator.

“Nothing else on this planet could change this morning, but if each of you walked out with a snippet of the kind of perspective King David had, may I say life would get better, may I say that life would have more meaning, that you would have a stronger sense of who you are.”

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS Ñ Attendees line up for breakfast at 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii Prayer Breakfast, at the Nehelani Banquet & Conference Center, March 15, 2017. The Army community came together for food and fellowship during the 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii Prayer Breakfast on March 15. Chaplain (retired colonel) Scott McChrystal, an infantry officer with the Americal Division during the Vietnam War and the military/veterans affairs representative for the Assemblies of God, delivered the keynote address. (U.S. Army photo by Karen A. Iwamoto, Oahu Publications)

Attendees line up for breakfast at 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii Prayer Breakfast, at the Nehelani Banquet & Conference Center, March 15. (U.S. Army photo by Karen A. Iwamoto, Oahu Publications)

Col. David Deppmeir, the command chaplain for Tripler Army Medical Center, who attended the prayer breakfast, said he believes McChrystal did a great job of encouraging the audience to do an honest assessment of their relationship with God.
“He used humor and stories to challenge us,” Deppmeir said. “And I think because of his background as an officer and chaplain, he really understands a Soldier’s life and the challenges we have … so he was able to connect with us in a way that we could relate to.”

Capt. Donna Corley, who is in the Army Reserve, also attended the prayer breakfast and agreed, saying, “(McChrystal) was very candid with sharing his experience. He’s challenging us to realize that God has our back, and I feel more motivated to stay the course.”

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