134th Chaplain Support Team Soldiers return from deployment

(Contributed photo)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Five Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Fort Pickett-based 134th Chaplain Support Team are back home after a successful deployment providing religious support to U.S. troops overseas. The detachment, led by Lt. Col. Seung H. Lee, the 134th Command Chaplain, arrived back in Virginia in July 2020. 

The 134th arrived in Kuwait in September 2019. Lee said the team was immediately split up and attached to various units in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to help provide religious support. 

Lee was assigned as the U.S. Army Central (Forward) operations chaplain, responsible for tracking all religious support assets while also conducting traditional chaplain services. 

“I am grateful that I was also able to do traditional chaplain duties of regularly preaching at chapel services, counseling Soldiers, taking care packages to Soldiers in remote locations during Christmas, and volunteering at a local Kuwaiti Children’s Hospital with Task Force Spartan’s Civil Affairs Team,” said Lee. 

Sgt. 1st Class William Henderson was also assigned to USARCENT as the senior religious affairs non-commissioned officer, developing and executing all daily office operations. Henderson also created flight manifests to move chaplains in theatre and served as the building manager for the USARCENT chaplain’s office. 

“His effort ensured that religious support operations were smoothly executed throughout USARCENT’s area of operations,” said Lee.

Lee highlighted Spc. Brittany Engles for having the most diverse deployment of the team. Engles was initially assigned to the 1st Theater Sustainment Command’s Gateway Ministry Team. Later, Lee selected Engles to to fill a critical role as a religious affairs specialist for a Roman Catholic chaplain heading into Iraq. 

“During this assignment, she distinguished herself by assisting her chaplain in his movement throughout Iraq, providing ministry for her chaplain and providing for his personal protective needs,” said Lee. 

While in Iraq, Engles helped provide religious support after a mass casualty incident. Lee said Engles will receive the Combat Action Badge and the Army Achievement Medal with “C” device. 

The last two members of the detachment, Maj. Dan Finley and Spc. Joshua Sacra spent most of the deployment assigned to the 77th Sustainment Brigade, serving as the brigade’s unit ministry team. After the 77th was redeployed, Finley was assigned to the Area Support Group-Kuwait’s chaplain’s office, and Sacra was assigned to the Gateway Ministry Trailer. Both earned the Army Achievement Medal for their service. 

“I can say that the 134th did an outstanding job, and has continued the long legacy of excellence for the Virginia Army National Guard,” said Lee. “It’s rare opportunity for a chaplain to lead a detachment on an overseas deployment. It’s been both an honor and privilege to serve in this capacity over the past two years, as we successfully prepared for and executed our mission.”

The detachment departed Kuwait and arrived back at Fort Hood, Texas in June 2020, and arrived back home in Virginia July 1, 2020. 

(Contributed photo)