A Tribute to the Military Chaplains of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
By Dr. John W. Schumacher, CH (COL) USA, Retired Chaplain Endorsing Agent, FGBC
With dedication, distinction, courage, and commitment, more than 50 men have represented the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches as military chaplains. They stand on a legacy that has been built through the years.
These men have felt the call to share the message of God’s never-changing love to a unique culture. They have dared to hold their weeping wives and children, say goodbye, and then board ships and airplanes to go to strange and sometimes hostile environments. They have done so that they might touch the lives of many who do not know the peace that comes from knowing a Savior who loves them and wants to walk with them. They have served among many who have never darkened the door of any church.
Four Grace Brethren chaplains earned decorations for heroism on the battlefields of World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam:
* Orville Lorenz was awarded the Silver Star for heroism in World War II.
* Don Carter was awarded the Silver Star for heroism in Korea. As he prepared to go on one mission, a fellow unit chaplain, a Catholic priest, told him was going to take his place, because Don had been in too many battles. The priest was captured in the battle that ensued and died in a North KoreanPOW camp.
* John Talley was awarded the Silver Star for heroism in Viet Nam.
* Jim Hutchens was awarded the Bronze for Valor in Viet Nam and also received the Purple Heart for wounds that came as a result of trying to rescue wounded men.
Eight Grace Brethren men have served during Operation Desert Storm and the Gulf War in both the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters. Four more chaplains are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. All of the chaplains have been highly decorated for their service in both peace and war.
Grace Brethren chaplains have served with distinction and have had the honor of being placed in positions of key leadership at nearly every level of command. To be selected to be the senior chaplain of a divisionis a tremendous honor and few are granted such an honor and responsibility. At least three have served at that level.
Three Grace Brethren chaplains have served in key positions at the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School. Mark Penfold is beginning a key facultyposition there, while I attended the U.S. Army War College and returnedto serve on the faculty.
Many others have held key staff positions. At least four of our men havebeen senior chaplains on installations. James Schaefer was an Army recruiter for chaplains. His efforts to direct unaligned men toward the FGBC resulted in significant growth of the chaplain team.
Grace Brethren chaplains want nothing other than to be men of God with the message of hope and salvation in Jesus Christ in the midst of our nation’s fighting forces. They not only are deserving of the honors thathave been given to them by military commanders but are also worthy of the continued prayers and support of our Fellowship. There are soldiers,sailors, airmen, and Marines living and dead whose lives have been forever made whole because of the faithfulness of these heroes who have served the cause of Christ in very difficult circumstances.
I also pay tribute to their families who have been no less than heroic in their commitment to live the gypsy life of the military family. Theseunsung heroines and heroes have been willing to keep the home fires burning while husbands and fathers have been away on isolated and sometimes dangerous tours of duty.
Thank you for your prayers and support for all of those who have so valiantly served and continue to serve God, Country, and our network of churches.
* for the chaplains as they serve in a unique culture;
* for their strength physically, emotionally and spiritually;
* for courage and steadfastness to get them through the tough times; and
* for their families, who need grace, patience, and closeness to be able to weather and grow from the military environment.
Military Chaplains in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
The Eagle Commission serves as a strategic link between the people of Grace Brethren churches and military chaplains around the world. To become a part of the Eagle Commission, learn more about the chaplains, and to receive regular updates and prayer requests about the ministries of the chaplains, see eaglecommission.org. The Eagle Commission is sponsored by the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation.
Capt. John Arnoldbik
Capt. Richard Hurst
Capt. Bill Graham
Capt. John Jacobsen
Capt. David Mvondo
Lt. Col. Mark Penfold
Capt. Pete Stone
Maj. James Schaefer
Capt. Jeff Wirick
Capt. Charles Pridgen
Lt. j.g. Justin Hayes
Lt. Louis Urban
U.S. Army National Guard Reserves
1st Lt. Scott Shaffer
John Schumacher (Col., retired, U.S. Army)
Retired Grace Brethren Chaplains
as of September 2010
Col. Burtin Hatch, U.S. Army
Col. John Schumacher, U.S. Army
Col. Jerry Young, U.S. Army Reserve
Lt. Col. Emyln Jones, U.S. Army
Lt. Col. John Patrick, U.S. Army
Lt. Col. Paul Lindberg, U.S. Army Reserve
Lt. Col. Charles Bearinger, U.S. Army Reserve
Maj. Charles Card, U.S. Army
Maj. Ben Collins, U.S. Army
Cmdr. Jim Dixon, U.S. Navy
Cmdr. John Diaz, U.S. Navy
Cmdr. Dayne Nix, U.S. Navy
Cmdr.Darrel Taylor, U.S. Navy Reserve
Lt. Cmdr. Jack Galle, U.S. Navy
Col. James Elwell, U.S. Air Force
Col. Ken Townsend, U.S. Air Force Reserve
Lt. Col. Bill Cochran, U.S. Air Force Reserve
Capt. Ralph Molyneux, U.S. Air Force
(With the Lord)
Col. Don Carter, U.S. Army (Former Chaplain Endorsing Agent)
Col. Orville Lorenz, U.S. Army
Cmdr. Lee Jenkins, US Navy (Former Chaplain Endorsing Agent)
Lt. Col. Bill Schaffer, Civil Air Patrol
Lt. Col. Lee Burris, U.S. Army
Chaplain Carlton Fuller, Veterans Administration