Face of Defense: Chaplain Assistant Serves With Passion
By Army Sgt. Jessica Rohr
135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq, June 25, 2010 Army Sgt. Keith D. Wright, a native of Brunswick, Ga., is serving here on his fourth deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Army Sgt. Keith D. Wright, a chaplain assistant for the 3rd Infantry Division’s Special Troops Battalion, is serving on his fourth deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom at Contingency Operating Base Speicher near Tikrit, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jessica Rohr
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
A chaplain assistant with the 3rd Infantry Division’s Special Troops Battalion, Wright said he joined the Army to get some direction in life after high school.
“One job that came up was metal worker,” he said. “In high school, I did welding for a semester, so I was already familiar with it. I was like, ‘Hey I could do that.’ They built up my confidence and skills.”
After he completed his active-duty enlistment, Wright served with the Georgia Army National Guard from 2003 to 2006. While in the Guard, he developed interest in a new specialty.
“During my transition from active duty to a civilian, I had a maturing experience mentally and coming into the faith. I am now a Christian,” Wright said. “When I got activated with the National Guard, I found out about chaplain assistants. … That’s when I decided my desire or passion wasn’t for welding.”
The idea appealed to him in light of the changes in his life, Wright said.
“If I could be in the Army and do something I love and be closer to something I love,” he explained, “then I needed to go and pursue it.”
Wright re-enlisted into the active-duty Army, and reclassified to chaplain assistant in March 2009.
As a chaplain assistant, Sgt. Wright assists the battalion’s chaplain in his missions to provide religious services and assess soldiers’ morale.
“Just as noncommissioned officers are the backbone of the Army, chaplain assistants are the backbone of the chaplains,” Wright said. “They may get the mission, but it is up to us, chaplain assistants, to make it happen and pull everything together. We are the sources to find the resources to make the mission happen – the place, the time, the agenda, the bulletins. We are the horse in the unit ministry team.”