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Summer 2004 Rapport: Chaplaincy Spotlight

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Sean Moore: Reaching Modern Warrior

Sean baptizes a paratrooper in Iraq

The sky was blue and the air still—a perfect day for a jump. Sean Moore stood in front of the open doors on a C-130 aircraft thinking of his wife and three kids watching from bleachers in the drop zone. Ideally, the static line, now coiled in Sean’s right hand, would open the parachute on his back as he jumped. If it failed to deploy within the standard count to four, he had less than eight seconds and 800 feet to pull the handle on the reserve chute attached to his abdomen. The green light flashed, the jumpmaster shouted “GO!” and he followed the paratrooper in front of him out the door. He counted under his breath, “One thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand.” He felt the comforting tug of silk, looked up to verify that there were no tangles or tears and breathed a sigh of relief. Just as he had gotten comfortable, he realized the ground was rapidly approaching. Screaming at the top of his lungs, “Help me, Jesus!” he felt his body crumple into the sand. This was Sean’s induction into the Parachute Infantry.

AGTS alumnus Sean Moore is an army chaplain serving the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (2-504), which returned from a three-month tour of duty in Iraq this spring. As a battalion chaplain, Sean ministers to the spiritual needs of approximately 700 paratroopers and reports to the commander on issues of religion and morale, performing religious duties as they fall within the scope of his training as an Assemblies of God (AG) minister. Any needs falling outside of this scope are referred to other chaplains.

“[While in Iraq,] my role was expanded to include nurturing the living, caring for the wounded and honoring the dead,” says Sean. “Unfortunately, I would be called on to serve in each capacity.” Caring for the wounded came all too often for Sean’s liking. One afternoon, he went to minister to an element of the 2-504 that had seen regular attacks, occasionally with wounded. He shook their hands, looked in the eye and asked how they were doing. The AG Chaplaincy Department had provided identification tags with a flag on the front and two verses of Psalm 91, the “Soldier’s Psalm,” on the back. Sean presented one to anyone who would take it. That evening, as the 2-504’s convoy made its way north, an Improvised Explosive Device detonated from the side of the highway. Several were wounded with minor cuts and burns. Sean met with them and prayed. One said to him, “Look, Sir,” as he pulled his I.D. chain from around his neck to reveal the tag he had been given. Sean recalls, “I went outside to look at the vehicle and the windshield on his side had been struck by debris but was still intact. I praised God for his protective hand all the way back to base.

“I know God is using me to bear witness to him all the time. I am able to engage Parachute Infantrymen, modern day warriors, in spiritual discussion. …I am continually amazed at the types of people that open up to me and I am privileged at the same time. The people God continually puts in my path are ones that have had some experience with [him] in the past and for whatever reason are estranged from him. Often they are hurting and can be downright obnoxious. I am able to be salt and light in a spiritually dark arena.

”The chaplains that Sean and his assistant had replaced identified needs in the Christian community in southern Baghdad. Several thousand families represented various faith traditions including Chaldean, Assyrian, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and AG. “I had the opportunity to meet several Christian leaders and constituents over the course of the deployment,” says Sean. “A highlight was when I met the pastor from the [AG] church in Baghdad. …[T]hey just dedicated their new worship facility in February and are now able to worship publicly without fear of being harassed or arrested.
”Sean and his family are stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C.

Sean (right) poses with an Iraqi pastor and a deacon (left) from an AG church in Bagdad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated: Wednesday, September 8, 2004 4:27 PM

 

 
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