2-1st ADA Battalion unveils mobile chapel in Korea
WARRIOR BASE, South Korea — Dubbed the “Chap-mobile” by Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, a tribute to Batman’s famous ride, this unique Army vehicle is going where the Soldiers are and tending to their spiritual needs. No “Chap-signal” necessary.
The unit ministry team of the 2-1st ADA Battalion “Guardians” has taken a commonly seen military vehicle and put it to use in a novel way here Nov. 20.
This light medium tactical vehicle, a large cargo truck that typically hauls troops and equipment, is now a mobile chapel, providing spiritual support to Soldiers in the unforgiving, often extremely cold Korean countryside.
Spiritual resilience is one of the five pillars of Soldier fitness, along with physical, social, emotional and family, according to the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.
Capt. Corey Arnold, the battalion Chaplain for the 2-1st ADA, believes this new type of chaplain’s vehicle is the wave of the future, leaving the venerable high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle, or “Humvee,” as a thing of the past.
This towering camouflaged truck carries a shelter in its cargo bed, typically used as a repair shop, but in this case it serves as the venue for small field religious services, one-on-one counseling or simply providing a warm place to get a cup of coffee, have a snack or to power up small electronic devices.
“The [Chap-mobile] tows a 15 kilowatt generator that distributes power to the shop,” said Arnold.
The Chaplain got his chance to deploy his new vehicle during the battalion’s range week, where the Air Defenders fired their various personal and crew-served weapons, driving from Camp Carroll, near Daegu, to Warrior Base up north.
The transformation from mobile maintenance shop to chapel on wheels surprised some.
Sgt. 1st class Paris Janey, a platoon sergeant with Battery C, was one of many Soldiers that got their first looks at the new vehicle.
“I didn’t expect it to look like that on the inside,” said Janey, noting the stark difference between how the truck would originally be configured and how stands now, ready to accomplish its new mission. The chaplain’s cross painted on the side of the shelter lets Soldiers know it is there to provide spiritual support and to help boost morale.
Sgt. Jeremy Norwood, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with Battery A, sat with Arnold after a long day on the M16 rifle range, having a long chat and warming up from the cold Korean winter.
“I loved the new chaplain vehicle,” said Norwood. “It gave the chaplain a chance to make it out here to talk with the [Soldiers], provide some coffee, snacks and lift the Soldiers’ spirits.”
This is the first vehicle of its kind and the plan is to submit this to the Army’s Chaplains Corps and hopefully start a new trend for chaplains throughout the armed forces, said Arnold.
Chaplain services encompass religious support that entails nurturing of the living, caring for the wounded and honoring the dead, said Arnold.
The Chap-mobile serves as a combat multiplier, keeping them in the fight, by tending to a Soldier’s needs in the field, with minimum disruption to their valuable training opportunities, said Arnold.
“[The Chap-mobile allows us] to provide a large portion of all of that in a mobile setting [and go] anywhere the Soldiers are,” said Arnold.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Janey. “It’s awesome what the chaplain is trying to bring to the table with the new vehicle.”