DVIDS – News – Michigan National Guard provides chaplain services to Marines during North Strike Exercise 21


GRAYLING, Michigan — Chaplains were integrated into the service and became permanent posts during the War of Independence. Some of their duties include ensuring the spiritual well-being of military personnel, regardless of their religious background, and helping them meet challenges in areas such as religion, morals and morale. Michigan Army National Guard chaplain candidate was able to put his service to work in Michigan’s largest joint exercise – Northern Strike 21 (NS 21)

“One of our roles is to make sure that morale is there,” said Army Lt. Gabriel Marquez, Michigan Army National Guard chaplain candidate. “Chaplains are there to help build morale and give members the opportunity to relax while providing the spiritual aspect of training.

“Spirituality can be an important part of people’s lives and the goal is to help each individual achieve the religious practice they wish to have,” he added.

Marquez found himself in a familiar setting, working with the Marines. Marquez himself donned the Marine Corps uniform for six years before joining the Michigan Army National Guard.

“I loved being in the Marine Corps, so being with the Marines felt like being among my Marine siblings again,” Marquez said.

The chaplain’s body can provide that aspect of emotional support that helps members stay focused on missions and valuable training.

“As we deploy or are in an advanced environment, it’s important to have some downtime so that we can deal with things that have happened throughout the week, not just while we’re here, but also the things that go on at home, “said the US Marine Corps. Maj.Matthew Nolan, Combat Logistics Battalion 451, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Corps Forces Reserve. “Throughout the week we have the opportunity to briefly talk to our loved ones at home and we hear about things and events throughout life whether you are there or not and sometimes it can be. hard.”

“Whether or not church service applies directly, at least it puts you in the right mental space to be able to deal with things on an emotional level,” he said.

Although religious services are usually celebrated in chapels, this is not always the case. During NS 21, the Marines found themselves on the ground among the 148,000 square acres of land at Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Center, located in north-central Michigan. The field environment provided the opportunity to host the service in a non-traditional setting — a field tent.

“This is my first field service and I’m doing it with the Marines,” Marquez said.

As one of their goals is morale, the chaplain service also provides commanders with a tool that promotes readiness within the ranks.

“If religion is a big part of your life and we deny you this practice, morale could drop,” Marquez said. “If morale drops we don’t fight at full capacity and if we don’t fight at full capacity lives are lost. “

“Our job is to make sure that service members can use their faith during their training and we are responsible for helping them spiritually,” he added.

Others agreed on the added value of preparing and supporting the warrior.

“This service helps from an emotional development standpoint,” Nolan said. “Being able to reflect on the lesson the chaplain gives helps as you work with other Marines on a daily basis.”

“It is really important to hear the message from the chaplain and to be able to use it to apply to your situation,” he said.

Along with National Guard chaplains and assistant chaplains from Iowa, West Virginia, Michigan, and Texas, spiritual teams ensure all services are supported spiritually at NS 21.

“We went to different places in Camp Grayling every day,” Marquez said. “My job during Northern Strike is to support other chaplains and fill in the gaps if additional chaplain help is needed. “

“We want to be there for the military and give them the opportunity to pray,” he said.

The feeling was gratifying for the chaplain as the Marines took time from their training program to reflect on spiritual faith.

“It filled my heart with joy to see Marines here training and still wanting to put their faith to work,” Marquez said. “For the Marines, having the time to unload their bags, relax and be in the presence of God was heartwarming.”

Date taken: 08.08.2021
Date posted: 08.08.2021 20:10
Story ID: 402590
Place: GRAYLING, MI, United States

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