By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va. (4/24/13) - Members of the Massachusetts National Guard played a variety of roles in support of local authorities during the running of the Boston Marathon and in the wake of the explosions at the finish line.
Many Soldiers and Airmen took part in security and law enforcement operations but chaplains from the Air and Army National Guard were also present to provide a different type of support.
The chaplains’ operation concluded with the National Guard’s drawdown on April 20. The chaplains provided “ministry support to military members, law enforcement partners, and civilian workers in their area of responsibility,” said Lt. Col. David Berube, chaplain with the Massachusetts National Guard.
And many of the chaplains who have responded have said that many of the troops they have spoken with have been focused on their job and glad to have been able to help when they were needed.
“They (the chaplains) report morale is good and they are finding no major issues,” said Berube. “Troops are focused and purposeful, and our (Religious Support Teams) continue to make the rounds, logging what I'm sure are many miles of visitation.”
Those on duty have been appreciative of the chaplains’ efforts.
“I (was) in Boston today and heard appreciation from troops on the ground regarding the work of these outstanding RSTs,” said Berube.
That works to build a greater relationship between the troops on the ground and the chaplains providing spiritual support with chaplains being asked to provide follow-on support to those affected by the events in the area.
“They (have begun) to develop good relationships and provided quality support and counsel to these troops,” said Berube. “This RST has been asked to return…when the unit meets for a full critical incident stress management meeting.”
Additionally, chaplains who have responded to the incident have been compiling information to be used in future incidents.
“They will provide senior leadership with statistical data on presence, care, and counsel in this mission, along with best practices, learning points, and what I trust will be innovative ideas for future missions,” said Berube. “Given the good work they've done, I look forward to hearing what they have to say.”
That also sets the stage for future success.
“As we look toward the inevitable wrap-up of this specific mission we look forward to continuing the relationships begun here,” said Berube. “We have a strong, vital, and effective Chaplain Corps team.”