RICHMOND, Va. –
More than 30 chaplains and religious affairs specialists from the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force participated in a one-day Joint Chaplain Annual Sustainment Training May 6, 2023, at the Virginia National Guard’s Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia.
The overarching them for the training was “back to the basics,” explained Lt. Col. Seung Lee, the VNG’s state chaplain. It was the first statewide, in-person training for all the service component chaplains in more than two years, and Lee said the feedback from the participants was it was long overdue and very beneficial.
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, kicked off the training, stressing the importance of religious support to sustain the force during these times of extremely high operational tempo. He also encouraged both chaplains and religious support specialists to remain steadfast as the VNG transitions to strategic competition and large-scale combat operations.
Lee explained the training conducted covered a host of different topics centered in the theme of getting back to basics and providing world-class religious support across the formations of the VaARNG, VaANG and VDF. Col. Ben Sprouse, former VNG state chaplain, provided insights on providing support to units outside of the United States, Lee discussed support to LSCO, and retired Sergeant Maj. Henry Motely, the VNG’s sexual assault response coordinator, provided an update on the VNG’s SHARP program.
Lt. Col. Matthew Incorvaia, the VaANG’s senior chaplain, and Maj. (Va.) Joseph Capps, the VDF’s senior chaplain, both provided updates from their respective components.
Lee said because of the overwhelming success of this J-CAST, and the critical need to provide collective training for religious ministry teams across the state, he is going to explore the possibility of having additional collective training events throughout the year.
“In order for us to remain proficient in our core competencies of nurturing the living, caring for the wounded and honoring the dead, we continually have to get back to the basics,” said Maj. Brett Johnson, the VaARNG’s full-time support chaplain. “This J-CAST helped all of us to do this.”