As the Army Chaplain Corps celebrated its 240th anniversary yesterday, retired Army Chaplain David Smith reflected on how his personal experience of war and resiliency – particularly his own recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) brought on during his time in Iraq – affected his work.
As members of the clergy, chaplains possess some advantages that other leaders don’t. They are able to listen and counsel service members without prejudice. They can offer spiritual guidance to all faiths no matter the denomination. Service members know that anything they share with a chaplain is confidential.
Smith was deployed nine times during his 30 years in the Army. Nothing brought the war closer than his deployment to Al Anbar Province with the 82nd Airborne Division from August 2003 to April 2004.