War on Terrorism

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Face of Defense: Soldier Assists Spiritual Fitness

By Army Sgt. 1st Class J.R. Williams
Task Force Falcon

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, May 10, 2011 – As an usher for Baptist services on Sundays at the Enduring Faith Chapel here, Army Spc. Turquoise Dawson makes it her business to make her fellow worshipers feel welcome.

“When people come to the chapel, I show them a happy face,” the Philadelphia native said. “The first thing they see is a smile that says, ‘Let’s get church started with some fellowship and love. You came to the right place!’”

The property book office clerk for Task Force Falcon, 10th Mountain Division, said her desire to serve in a spiritual role during her deployment speaks not just to her faith, but to a larger approach to her well-being in keeping with the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program.

“CSF strengthens soldiers, civilians and families by making the most of five dimensions of strength through assessment and education. These are physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and family,” said Army Chaplain (Maj.) Bill Scritchfield.

Scritchfield, of Waynesburg, Pa., said he believes Gen. George Marshall explained the significance of soldier spirituality best: "The soldier's heart, the soldier's spirit, the soldier's soul are everything. Unless the soldier's soul sustains him, he cannot be relied on and will fail himself and his country in the end."

Dawson’s “good thing” doesn’t just strengthen her own spiritual fitness. The smile she wears every Sunday also plays a role in strengthening the shared beliefs of those who join her each week.

“It does make me feel better to see her there smiling,” said Army Sgt. Derek Sherrill, a paralegal noncommissioned officer with Task Force Falcon and a native of Carbondale, Ill. “You can tell she is genuinely happy. It gets things going in the right direction.”

Dawson said the fellowship allows her to aid in the spirit of worshipping and also brings her some peace.

“It’s a good refresher for the start of the week,” she said. “I show thanks for getting through the week and gain strength to get through the next one.”

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