'Vanguard' Battalion Chaplain Stresses Community Support
(February 17, 2011)
|BAGHDAD (Feb. 14, 2011) — In the military, support comes
from many places. Capt. Dennis Jenson, chaplain with 1st
“Vanguard” Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Advise and
Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States
Division – Center and a Fergus Falls, Minn., native, works
with soldiers in his unit, attempting to promote community
“Community is the support of other people that share
the same set of principles or beliefs,” said Jenson.
chaplain offers his service in multiple ways—through
religious services, Bible study, individual counseling and
organizing care packages for soldiers. This duty of looking
after soldiers' welfare reaches all of the joint security
stations where Vanguards reside.
Jenson travels to
all of the locations where the Vanguard soldiers live,
offering the support that they need during the deployment
and ensuring they feel part of the greater “Vanguard
Experience gained in his personal life
has helped Jenson relate to soldiers and their
Capt. Dennis Jenson, at podium, chaplain with 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center and a Fergus Falls, Minn., native, reads from scripture at Sunday church service Feb. 6,
2011 at Camp Taji, Iraq.
families. Jenson grew up in a military family
with his father serving 20 years in the Navy.
This lifestyle offered a first-hand experience
of the sacrifice families make for their
country, Jenson said.
Before going to seminary and becoming
the Vanguard Battalion chaplain, Jenson served in the Army
from 1990-1993 as a supply clerk for a basic training unit
at Fort Jackson, S.C. Even then, he understood the
importance of community and supported other soldiers the
best way he could. |
“I didn't have a supply sergeant
for a while; basically I was [the supply sergeant]. Whenever
soldiers took a break and came to me I would play Christian
music and talk with them,” Jenson said. In this position, he
spent time with soldiers at basic training and offered
spiritual support to new soldiers when they had time away
Leaving active duty in 1993, Jenson
went home and started college while in the Inactive Ready
Reserves. He finished his degree from Northwestern College
in Minnesota around the same time his commitment to military
“While finishing my seminary degree
and afterwards I was working as a pastor part time helping
out,” Jenson said. He always offered his time working with
the church and after finishing college was looking for a
full time position as a pastor, he said.
opportunity came when he was offered a two-year position at
a Korean church in Minnesota as its English-speaking pastor.
Near the end of his two years with the Korean church, he
knew he was going to need to find a new place to work.
Through a network of friends, a new opportunity arose.
“I wasn't thinking about the chaplaincy, per se, but God
just opened doors and brought certain people into my life,”
Jenson said. A friend who was going into the chaplaincy gave
him the idea, he said.
Jenson's positive past
experiences in the military, combined with the fact that his
church offered sponsorship into the chaplaincy program,
influenced his decision. In 2010, Jenson returned to active
duty as a chaplain.
“It was more of a transitioning
from one ministry to a different kind of ministry,” Jenson
said. “This is a chance to minister in a different
environment—I get to focus on soldiers.”
the door in my heart to the opportunity to come back and
serve as a Full-Time pastor, being the chaplain has been
good, and I'm glad for the opportunity,” Jenson said. “It's
been amazing to watch how God works in our lives.”
Article and photo by Army Spc. William K. Ermatinger|
2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., USD-C
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