KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Soldiers of the 501st Brigade
Support Battalion take an extra step prior to conducting patrols.
Chaplain (Capt.) Ronnie Irwin, 501st Brigade Support Battalion,
and a native of Clinton, Miss., prays for soldiers of Headquarters
Headquarters Company, 501st BSB prior to a patrol, March 9, 2013.
Irwin has attended nearly every convoy brief since arriving in
Afghanistan to pray for soldiers. Photo by ARmy Staff Sgt. Jason Ragucci
Up to three times a day, Chaplain (Capt.) Ronnie Irwin, a
native of Clinton, Miss., attends every convoy brief to
deliver a prayer for the soldiers preparing to conduct their
“I pray for all of the convoys before they
roll out,” said Irwin. “I meet with them at the convoy brief
and they always give me an opportunity to pray for them.”
Irwin, who, like many
deployed soldiers, works upwards of 18 hours a day, has
attended nearly every convoy brief at FOB Walton since he
“These are my soldiers,” said Irwin. “I see
that it reminds them of God's presence as they go outside
the wire. I have soldiers that come to me and tell of
situations that they've averted, dangers that they've been
able to avoid.”
Many of these soldiers credit these
aversions to the chaplain's pre-convoy prayer.
of them attribute it to the fact that they've been prayed
for before they go out,” said Irwin.
office does more than just provide prayer for soldiers,
though. They also provide overall religious support for the
FOB, consisting of nearly 1,800 soldiers.
provide worship study opportunities, bible study
opportunities and we also run a troop store,” said Irwin.
The troop store has proven to be a valuable commodity
for the soldiers at Walton, seeing on average 100 soldiers a
“We get several care packages in a week and we
let them come through and utilize it for whatever they
need,” said Spc. Samantha Lewis, the chaplain's assistant
for 501st BSB, and a native of Pleasantville, Penn. “We have
things such as hygiene products, Girl Scout cookies, we have
all sorts of snacks and things of that nature."
By Army Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus
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