The Family Life Chaplain Training Program is part of the Army’s Advanced Civil Schooling program.  Each chaplain selected to be a Family life chaplain completes an intensive, 54-hour degree program through Webster University and conducts nearly 500 hours of counseling for Soldiers and Family members at the Watters’ Family Life Training and Resource Center over the course of 14 months.  Following graduation, each chaplain is awarded their Masters of Arts degree in Counseling and begins fulfilling their three-year, active-duty service obligation at their next duty assignment.  This year’s class of graduates and upcoming assignments are Chaplain (Maj.) Shawn McCammon, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Chaplain (Maj.) George Shaffer, Stuttgart, Germany, Chaplain (Maj.) Suk Kim, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y., Chaplain (Maj.) Tim Won, Yongsan, Korea, Chaplain (Maj.) Jerry Hall, Fort Irwin, Calif., and Chaplain (Maj.) Charles Scott, Fort Belvoir, Va.

Family life chaplains serve as a subject matter expert in counseling and provide a wide range of ministries to the garrison or division where they are assigned. Some of their duties include training battalion chaplains in pastoral skills, directing ministry to Soldiers and Family members through the Family Life Center, conducting on-post relationship resilience seminars, teaching assistance for Strong Bonds events, providing a care and resilience network for caregivers, providing deployment readiness and recovery, and more. These chaplains will use the specialized skills and training they have received to become visible, effective, and integrated parts of the garrison or division ministry.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Dave Mikkelson, FLTRC director, and Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jerry Sieg, FLTRC clinical supervisor, are the ones responsible for training these Family life chaplains and preparing them for the work ahead.  They have not only designed a world-class program for the graduating chaplains, but also have provided each chaplain nearly 100 hours of direct, individual supervision to hone and sharpen their counseling skills.

“I feel very prepared thanks to the program here.  I feel as though I can step right in and do the job that is expected of me and be very successful,” said McCammon.  “I am not aware of how the other centers do it, but the program we have here, the amount of training we go through and the amount of exposure we get to guest speakers and special training here at Fort Bragg is second to none,” he added.

For Mikkelson and Sieg, training chaplains to provide superior ministry is the highest priority. “We’ve seen tremendous growth on the part of these chaplains from the time they came until now,” said Sieg.  “They have worked extremely hard over the course of the time they have been here. They have earned the title of Family life chaplain. I know they will go from here and do great ministry in their next assignments,” Sieg added.

The Fort Bragg 2012 class of Family life chaplains will graduate July 27, 11 a.m., at the Main Post Chapel.  If you would like to wish these chaplains well on their way to their next assignment, the public is welcome to attend this religious service as the chaplains celebrate the accomplishment of many hours of hard work, worship God for His goodness, and thank God for sustaining them through this time.

If you are in need of counseling, remember that the Watters’ Family Life Training and Resource Center is available free of charge to all Soldiers, Family members and DA civilians.

The Watters’ Center is located on the corner of Knox Road and Randolph Street.  Call 396-6564 for an appointment.