CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan --
A newly constructed chapel at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, was dedicated in a ceremony, Jan. 31, to Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.
During the ceremony, troops gathered at the chapel to read scripture, sing songs and watch the placement of polished wood plaques bearing the names of their fallen brothers.
“Originally, the chapel was just going to be called the ’Flightline Chapel,’” explained U.S. Navy Capt. Rondall Brown, the command chaplain for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). “After reflecting on the loss and the sacrifice of these men, this chapel had to stand for something more.”
The Flightline Memorial Chapel is now dedicated to all members of the Marine Corps aviation community who have lost their lives serving in southwestern Afghanistan.
“I looked at these men and their faithfulness to their commitment to protecting our freedoms, to the point that they gave their own lives for it,” Brown said.
The chapel, a small, unassuming metal building, sits just across the street from hangars where Marine Corps helicopters launch around the clock providing air support for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force troops fighting insurgency throughout southwestern Afghanistan.
Brown said the Flightline Memorial Chapel will serve as a place of reflection for troops of all faiths, and stand as a sanctuary from the stresses of deployment.
“When you first walk in, the first thing you will see are plaques bearing the names of fallen heroes,” said Brown. “Unfortunately, I know that they will not be the last to pay such a steep price, and this chapel stands for all of those who gave their life and those that will in the future.”
The fallen Marines served as pilots, maintainers, crew chiefs and in other ground support roles in the Marine Corps aviation community. The Marine Corps uses a variety of aircraft in Afghanistan ranging from light attack helicopters which provide close-air support to ground troops, to the MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft used to move troops and equipment throughout the battlespace.
“I feel that though small, this is the most fitting gesture,” said Brown. “These men fought and made the ultimate sacrifice to defend the rights we all hold dear.
“Our freedom of speech, our freedom to worship or not to worship is possible because of them,” Brown continued. “Their sacrifice is what allows this chapel to exist as a place of sanctuary and reflection for all troops still fulfilling the mission in Afghanistan.”
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