In February of 2005 3rd Squadron 7th United States Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division arrived at Camp Rustamiya in Baghdad Iraq. We relieved the 2nd Squadron Eighth Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division and began conducting Combat Operations in the Southeast Baghdad area of operations. As senior Chaplain on the ground my assistant, Bert Copple (now Pastor Bert Copple), and I were responsible for the spiritual welfare and worship of over 4000 U.S. Soldiers and American personnel on the Forward Operating Base. We had three Chaplain's and their assistants under our supervision working for us. The service Copple and I conducted was the Sunday evening contemporary service which ended up being a stripped down Anglican service with high tempo praise and worship followed by the Gospel reading, sermon and Holy Communion. We started with 12 soldiers and by the end of the year and our combat tour had 120 in attendance. This song became our anthem, "Blessed be Your Name." It spoke of giving praise to God in the good times and in the bad times. In all seasons of life we are called to bless the Name of God. Its easy to praise God in the good times but when things seem bad it is a testament to our faith to praise him and rely solely on Him as our source. God will not desert us or leave us in reality he carries us through hardship and thus we give Him glory. To see a group of solders sing this song and lift their hands to God was beyond awesome, it was a true witness of God working in their lives while in Combat.
I am a Priest in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). I am a Husband to Darcien Balog, 26 Years. I am a Father to four pretty cool kids (they are still not cooler than us parents) Ashleigh, John, James and Nick. I have one Grandchild Aramis (now he's real cool). I am a Soldier. The highlight of my Army Career was being assigned to the 3rd Squadron 7th United States Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. I conducted two Combat tours with them to Iraq; the 2003 OIF invasion and 2005 OIF 3. I've seen God work in awesome ways, more so than most civilian Pastors could ever know.
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