A chaplain for all

The following guest post comes from retired United States Army Colonel John F. Rudman. Millennialstar.org is hopeful that you and others from your battalion will be able to re-connect with Captain Davis. Thank you for your service!

In 1990, I was fortunate enough to take command of 5th battalion, 3rd Field Artillery in Germany. This period in history was rather volatile for the US Army as we had just ended the Cold War and orders went out to downsize the Army, as happens after each major threat is defeated. Shortly thereafter, in August 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, but the Army continued to de-activate units. While it built up forces to counter the invasion: not an easy thing to do or even contemplate. My unit found itself in the middle of a squabble that was unparalleled as we went from de-activation, to deployment, to de-activation, to weapon change to no weapon change, and on and on and on. Concurrently, 112 soldiers were stripped out to fill other units. The battalion received eleven different missions over a period of just under six months. In the end, we re-deployed as a unit to the United States, and then re-armed from an 8” battalion to a Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Battalion at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

In the middle of all this turmoil and stress was the calming voice and smile of CPT (CH) Bryant C. Davis. His ministry office was situated in the motor pool, where you could always find a cup of coffee amidst the clatter of air guns removing engines, or the clang of metal to metal on a cold concrete floor attesting to the latest flat tire or broken hydraulic line. Soldiers would take a break and stop by just to say hi or get out of the noise. Sometimes they had issues to discuss; sometimes it was a chance to ask a question for “a friend”. Regardless, Chaplin Davis was there, always with a smile, always gauging the morale of the troops, always ready with a pat on the back and a word of comfort for those worried about what the future held for them. No one ever questioned his particular denomination; that really was not important to us. Moreover, without exception, Chaplain Davis was able to counsel with a great deal of compassion and unwavering devotion to “his” troops. I would stop by, just to see how he was doing in the middle of all this, only to be trapped by his smile and given a morale check of my own. He never tired of his mission to provide that dose of calmness in a very real world of uncertainty.

He and the battalion surgeon became a tag team of sorts. They shared a Hummer with “Body and Soul Team” stenciled on the side; were constant partners on the racquetball court; and, were the targets of the less than innocent pranks of the medics as they consistently tried to corrupt “their” chaplain with questionable magazines and gambling. They never succeeded but it was the stories that made the medical/chaplain team one of those special elements within the battalion that generated a closer-knit family atmosphere than witnessed in other units.

He did all the regular stuff of chaplains in the field and during live fire exercises, but it was his office in the motor pool with the door always opens that I will always hold in my memory. On behalf of all the men of the “First Round” Battalion, I just wanted to say thank you Chaplain Davis.

5 thoughts on “A chaplain for all

  1. Colonel Rudman, thank you for sharing your story with M*’s readers. I am hopeful that this post will serve as a means for you and others in your battalion to re-connect with Captain Davis.

    What a blessing it must have been to have Captain Davis during this time of turmoil and constant change. The military needs more men like Captain Davis.

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  3. Thank you Colonel Rudman for your story. My oldest son is a ROTC cadet. I pray that when he is deployed, he is in the company of men such as Captain Davis.

  4. Col Rudman wrote this and sent it at my behest. I was the “body” in the “body and soul” team and would love to hear from Bryant if anyone knows how to reach him. Thanks.

    Scott Stegall

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