African and American military chaplains share ideas and experiences | Item



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New York Army National Guard Lt. Col. Scott Ehler, New York National Guard State Chaplain, chats with South African National Defense Force Chaplain, Colonel Malcolm Pillay, at a meeting of American and African chaplains conducted as part of the …
(Photo credit: US Army)


African and American military chaplains share ideas and experiences


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Lt. Col. Scott Ehler, the New York National Guard’s chief chaplain (right) brainstorms with two African military chaplains during a meeting of American and African chaplains conducted as part of the program National Guard State Partnership on …
(Photo credit: US Army)


GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany – State National Guard chaplains partnering with African armies met with their African counterparts August 23-26, as the United States Africa Command hosted a meeting for chaplains as part of the National Guard Partnership Program.

American chaplains and their counterparts exchanged ideas and best practices during the four-day workshop.

“As chaplains we have to be committed to the service and the needs of the military and that is why I am here,” said Lt. Col. Scott Elher, State Chaplain of the New National Guard. York. “Here today, New York tomorrow and South Africa later, I go where I am needed.”

New York has a state partnership program with South Africa. The South African National Defense Force has 180 chaplains, the largest corps of chaplains on the continent.

The National Guard State Partnership Program links a unique component of the Department of Defense – a State’s National Guard – with the armed forces or equivalent of a partner country in a mutually beneficial cooperative relationship.

States in the State Partnership Program organize joint training and conduct exchange visits of officers and non-commissioned officers. The chaplains reunion is part of this effort.

Chaplains of Nigeria, in partnership with California; Botswana, in partnership with North Carolina; Djibouti, in partnership with Kentucky; Ghana, in partnership with North Dakota; and Kenya, which is in partnership with Massachusetts; attended the workshop.

The four-day workshop was designed as a professional and spiritual workshop to build on evidence-based expertise, studies from experienced chaplains who relayed what works well, what can be improved, and how to ultimately succeed. in the role of chaplain in Africa, said Ehler. .

AFRICOM regularly organizes chaplain gatherings between American and African military chaplains.

The exchange of information and the need for dialogue are essential for chaplains, said Ehler.

Americans may not understand how things work in Africa, African chaplains stressed.

“If there is a problem with a neighboring African country, the United States should not intervene in an ill-advised manner but should first seek advice from another African country because we see ourselves as brothers,” he said. Botswana Defense Force chaplain David Taote Mapitse.

The AFRICOM command chaplain stressed the importance of an African proverb in working on the continent: “If you want to go fast, go alone. However, if you want to go far with partners ”

“As a chaplain, we work with such a collegial crowd and we do it by working together,” said AFRICOM Command Chaplain (Col.) Michael Klein. “God uses people to refine us, to appease us, that’s what it means to establish regional security, to mitigate extremism and to restore confidence,” he added.

American chaplains strive to be facilitators for African chaplains, Klein said. They interface daily with US embassies and foreign defense relations to maintain dialogue with their counterparts and collaborate, he added.

Overall, the four-day meeting was useful, said Col. Dr. Tobias Maluku, chaplain service chief of the South African National Defense Force. We wish God’s blessing for the future. I would like to express our gratitude for this informative event, ”said Masuku.

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