• Soldiers gather for National Day of Prayer

  • The National Day of Prayer luncheon at Frontier Chapel featured U.S. Army Forces Command Chaplain (Col.) Robert Whitlock as the guest speaker.

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  • Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
    The National Day of Prayer luncheon at Frontier Chapel featured U.S. Army Forces Command Chaplain (Col.) Robert Whitlock as the guest speaker March 30.
    After members of the community were welcomed by Combined Arms Center Chaplain (Col.) Barbara Sherer, a brass quintet of the 1st Infantry Division Band from Fort Riley, Kan., played the national anthem.
    Mission Command Training Program Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Bradford Baumann gave the invocation.
    Garrison Chaplain (Col.) Milton Johnson introduced Whitlock who opened his remarks by telling of the British Expeditionary Force commander facing the challenge to evacuate hundreds of thousands of Allied troops at Dunkirk during World War II.
    “The communiqué sent back to England … consisted of only the three words — but if not,” Whitlock said. “I have a coin in my pocket for anyone other than a chaplain who can correctly tell me where those three words originate — but if not.”
    Whitlock said the words are from the book of Daniel in the King James Bible. He said the three words came from the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego during their collective demonstration of unwavering faith while facing overwhelming odds.
    “Let me make a few observations about our force today,” Whitlock said. “We have more combat experience than any military force in history — 15-plus years of constant fighting.”
    Whitlock said the newest soldiers were 3 years old when the United States engaged the Taliban in 2001.
    “An entire second generation is entering a fight that has continued for many consecutive years,” Whitlock said. “As proud as all of us should be, we are missing something in the care of our soldiers and for one another.”
    Despite all of the advances in military technology and quality of life successes the Army enjoys, the force continues to lose soldiers. He said absolutes such as selfless service, personal integrity and individual courage contribute positively to the collective efforts military leaders put in place to constructively influence these factors.
    “I believe we as leaders must provide a foundation of faith to our soldiers,” Whitlock said. “Belief grounded in reality. The confidence that you know the truth and in that knowledge, you are set free.”
    Rock of Refuge Christian Fellowship Choir led by Pastor William Kai Brown of Leavenworth and the 1st Infantry Division Band provided incidental music during lunch.
    A prayer for the nation was made by Command and General Staff College Chaplain (Maj.) Shawn Gee and Family Life Chaplain (Maj.) Jeffrey Whorton, said a prayer for soldiers and their families.
    Whitlock served as a command chaplain in Kuwait, Fort Hood, Texas, and Yongsan, South Korea. He was a division chaplain for the 3rd Infantry Division and executive officer for the Army Chief of Chaplains in Washington, D.C., among other assignments.
    Page 2 of 2 - Whitlock holds a bachelor of arts in pastoral methods from Emmanuel College, a master of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a master’s in strategic studies from the Army War College. He has served churches in Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky. His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
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