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Lt. Cmdr. Ray Hunt and his fellow chaplains are ready to support the service members of the 1st Marine Logistics Group at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, assisting them in whatever spiritual needs that may arise. ::n::::n::â??We like to think that we have met needs and now we are going after wants (spiritually),â? Hunt, a 40-year-old native of Clinton, Miss.::n::::n::The 4,200 service members of 1st MLG are part of the 25,000 Marines, airmen, solders and sailors of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Forceâ??s forward deployed element. The 1st MLGâ??s mission is to provide sustained logistics support to I MEF and Iraqi security forces operating in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. First MLG will also support the development of the Iraqi Security Forcesâ?? logistic capabilities in order to enable independent ISF led counter insurgency operations.

Photo by Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

Chaplains ready to strengthen, develop Marines in Iraq

15 Mar 2006 | Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

Deployment can affect service members in a number of ways, including their emotional and spiritual well-being.

When it comes to spiritual matters, service members here have only to turn to Lt. Cmdr. Ray Hunt, chaplain for the deployed element of the 1st Marine Logistics Group, for assistance.

Hunt said he is determined to bring every service member home emotionally and spiritually sound.

“I just want to take care of every Marine, sailor, soldier and airman (here). I want everyone to go home (safely),” said Hunt, a native of Clinton, Miss.

For Hunt and the other chaplains here, taking care of the Marines is simply a matter of adapting to their needs.

The key is not only being aware of the needs of the individual service members, whether it is personal counseling or religious services, but also utilizing the diverse faiths of the other chaplains to help the service members spiritually grow, said Hunt.

Ultimately, Hunt is looking forward to adding to an already solid base of spiritual support operations.

“We like to think that we have met needs and now we are going after wants (spiritually),” said Hunt.

Tending to these incredibly personal and spiritual needs is vital to keeping the service members productive, said Hunt, 40.

“We are a viable part of operational success; in a military sense, it’s nothing but economics,” Hunt said.

If a service member’s head is not in the mission, he or she will not perform as accurately or as well, but through the services offered by the chaplain, that Marine can begin to heal spiritually and emotionally, Hunt continued.

In addition to counseling, the chaplain’s office offers a women’s bible study, choir practices, musical instruments to play, as well as different services on Sunday mornings for many different faiths.

No matter what religious services one utilizes, Hunt has a few suggestions to keep individual morale up:

• Be part of something, no matter what it is
• Find and make friends
• Don’t withdraw from others
• Find time to relax, whatever it is you’re doing
• Don’t neglect your spiritual self
• Maintain communication with friends and family back home

In the end, no matter what walk of faith a service member is, the chaplain’s door is always open.

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