Thursday, August 17, 2017

Who Will Go?

May 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

I arrived at Joint Base Balad (JBB), Iraq on 9 Sept 2009; my mission was for 120 days but could be extended without notice. I ended up with a four and a half month deployment. Air Force chaplains, until this 2010 rotation, traditionally deployed for four month tours. My deployment was very fast! I worked 16 hour days and I chose to take only five days off during my deployment. God gave me His compassion, an amazing job and the endurance to work that many hours. The troops to which I was assigned worked 24 hour shifts, seven days a week so I didn’t feel right taking too much time off.

I was assigned to the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Group; roughly 1,400 cops and their force support such as Intel. As their chaplain, I supported civilians, linguists, interpreters, Air Force, Army, Navy, the Ugandan Army, and the Iraqi Army that were assigned to the Security Forces Group at Joint Base Balad. The Security Forces commander, Col David Ptak, gave me an office in the “cop” headquarters building. The Bibles and study materials I kept there. I left the Bibles out for my troops to take at their leisure. They loved the Bibles because they were camo-colored and fit perfectly in their uniform pants pocket.

Weekly, I led an intimate worship service outside the wire for some of my troops at one of the outer gates where US Air Force and Ugandan troops would gather. Sgt Katerega, from Uganda, was a Pastor back at the Ugandan compound so he and I would chat frequently about getting materials and the Gospel to his compound. Our Air Force chapel at Balad received a shipment of several thousand Bibles; so many that we had to send several hundred to FOBs (Forward Operating Base) in Afghanistan. I took your Bibles and materials* provided by Soldiers Bible Ministry, after I’d used them, to Sgt Katerega for him to pass out to the Ugandans and use during his Bible studies. He was extremely grateful and I could see no other blessing than allowing the gifts you’d provided to me to continue their mission to spread the God’s Word.

I was the first Air Force chaplain at Joint Base Balad to serve in the capacity of Security Forces Group Chaplain. Traditionally, there is not a “Group” chaplain assigned to one commander in the Air Force; they tried something new with me and it worked out marvelously. My troops did the blessing of course. I just stood and basked in God’s glory each day, so grateful He allowed me to participate in such an outstanding mission! Your materials are still being used now, long after my departure. For that, I am thankful and the troops of course are blessed!

My next mission could be Afghanistan as that is where the forward movement is leading the US military. But for the grace of God go I. During one of the first services I led at JBB, I told the troops why I was to honored to be there serving them. I quoted Isaiah 6:8&9 – Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” And He said, “Yes, go”. . . And so I did.

*SBM provided 2 cases of full Bibles (approx 50) and a couple of Bible study books and cd’s.

Brandy Brown Bio:

Chaplain, Captain Brandy C. Brown served at Joint Base Balad, Iraq from 9 September 2009 through 15 January 2010. She was the non-denominational protestant chaplain for the base and is assigned to the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Group under Colonel David Ptak. She holds two worship services for the Security Forces Group and assists with other worship services around Balad.

Chaplain, Brown is a protestant chaplain for the 187th Fighter Wing, Air National Guard, Alabama. She leads the Contemporary Worship Service at the unit. She provides pastoral care and support to 1,000+ airmen. Additionally, she is the chaplain for National Guard Association of Alabama Executive Council.

Chaplain Brown was tasked for Joint Missions to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration to support 1000+ soldiers and airmen from the Pennsylvania National Guard Units. Chaplain Brown is ordained and endorsed by the World Council of Independent Christian Churches.

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Comments

One Response to “Who Will Go?”
  1. David Peters says:

    Great article about a great chaplain.