By Emily Oehler, WTC Stratcom
As a PK (preachers kid), I have heard a lot of prayers. And when my brother followed in my dad’s footsteps, I heard even more. So when Chaplain LTC Mark Nordstrom was introduced at the AW2 Continue on Active Duty/Continue on Active Reserve (COAD/COAR) Forum as the “team leader for the God squad,” in a biography written by AW2 Sergeant Major SGM Robert Gallagher, my interest was piqued.
The chaplain stood before 30 delegates who were eager to give the Army advice on how to update regulations that govern severely wounded Soldiers who chose to COAD/COAR post injury. With an opportunity to inspire the delegates, Nordstrom stated, “We’re an Army Family— it’s in my blood. Many in my Family have served. I am counting on you to create a better Army where my son will serve.”
He then blessed the delegates:
For the those who have fought for freedom; for those who laid down their lives for others; for those who have borne suffering of mind and body; for those who have brought their best gifts to times of need. Lord, have mercy.
Lift up by Your mighty presence those who are now at war; encourage and heal those in hospitals or mending their wounds at home; guard those in any need or trouble; hold safely in your hands all our families; and bring the returning troops to joyful reunion and tranquil life at home.
Give to us, Your people, grateful hearts and a united will to honor these men and women through our work here this week and hold them always in our love and our prayers; until Your world is perfected in peace. Amen.
This prayer struck a chord with me—especially while listening to 15 severely wounded Soldiers share their personal stories with me today. These stories described the devastation of losing members of their Army Family in combat; personally dying 7 times during treatment but healed due to outstanding physician assistants (PAs), emergency medical technicians (EMTs), physicians, and nurses; the stress of their injury on their children; and being a “walking miracle.”
For all the prayers I’ve heard—this will be one of the few that will be kept and repeated; and of course, shared with my dad (a Vietnam Veteran) and my brother. It will be nice to give them an earful for a change.