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At the cusp of daybreak, Rear Adm. Robert F. Burt, delivers his Easter message to deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians who joined him for the Easter sunrise service at Al Asad, Iraq, April 16. Burt is the U.S. Navy Deputy Chief of Chaplains and the Chaplain of the Marine Corps.

Photo by Cpl. Jonathan K. Teslevich

Religious programs help service members at Al Asad

25 Apr 2006 | Lance Cpl. Brandon L. Roach

Combat stress can consist of many more things than just combat, and when times get tough, while deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom, service members turn to the Chaplain's Office for help.

"Our services are critical for those service members who wish to participate," said Cmdr. Craig G. Muehler, chaplain, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. "We offer services for all religions and denominations."

By just touching the 'tip of the iceberg,' deployed service members go through problems such as marital difficulties, depression and overall loneliness which can take their mind off their safety and job.

"When you don't have a presence of family or friends, the only thing left to help you when you're alone is your faith," said Petty Officer 3rd Class C. D. Coley, religious programs specialist, MWHS-3.

Many people just look to the Chaplain's Office as a positive way to relieve stress by doing activities that have been arranged by the Religious Programs personnel.  

"When deployed, you have time to sit down and think about what's going on around you," said Sgt. Requilda N. Quintana, supply chief, MWHS-3. "You can also find companionship and it's a good place to open up and relieve stress."

As well as counseling and religion, the Chaplain's Office offers many other types of services to help people that are interested.

"We have bible studies, choirs, tours of the oasis and we hold special services for service members wounded or killed in action," stated Muehler.

The Chaplain's Office is also a point where people from the United States send many care packages to service members that are distributed to deployed personnel.

They also work directly with the Key Volunteers Program in the states as well as organizing visits for several religious people to speak with service members.

With the motto of provide, facilitate and care, the religious programs offered in theater will help service members through what could be one of the hardest times in their life.
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing