Onward, Christian soldiers

Published November 1, 2012

Whenever I’m in Ottawa, where I grew up, I worship at St. Richard’s Anglican Church with my mom and my girlfriend, Suzanne. I’ve been in the military for 28 years. I have moved many times, and I find the St. Richard’s congregation to be the warmest and friendliest I’ve ever encountered.In July 2011, I deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a member of the Mission Transition Task Force. We were there to ensure that all Canadian personnel, vehicles, aviation and equipment left Kandahar by year-end. My specific job involved telling what our nearly 1,200 dedicated Canadian military personnel had accomplished in Afghanistan on behalf of Canada.Religious services and studies were part of life at Kandahar Airfield. One of the three chapels, for instance, accommodated 14 religions and offered 42 weekly religious activities. I regularly attended two different Sunday services, a “double header” that helped me keep my balance while I worked seven days a week, 14 hours a day.While our mission didn’t hold the same danger as previous combat operations, some risk did exist. Religion provided us counsel and grounding, lifting our thoughts beyond just eating, sleeping and working.I feel fortunate to have served my country, and Canadians, in Afghanistan.Major Gregg Poehlmann
Nepean, Ont.


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