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heroes at home

by David Trogdon

For more information about the FWB Home Missions Department (now North American Ministries), please visit

WHILE THE SOLDIER IN ME WISHES I could be ministering to “my guys” in Iraq, I know that God has provided me with a fruitful ministry serving as hospital chaplain at Fort Campbell, KY. As a Free Will Baptist “missionary to the military,” I serve as both hospital chaplain and pastor. Blanchfield Army Community Hospital serves a population of 89,000 soldiers, family members, and retired military personnel. The hospital has almost 2,000 staff members, 66 inpatient beds, 2,000 daily outpatient visits, OB/Labor and delivery, ICU, same-day surgery, an emergency center, and only one chaplain who is on-call 24/7. And with the 101st Airborne Division and 60 chaplains deployed to Iraq, God has provided me additional opportunities to serve. Besides my usual duties as the hospital chaplain, I have the privilege of ministering to wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and to families of soldiers who have been left behind.

God in Fatigues

In combat, a chaplain often represents the presence of God. I have found the same to be true for soldiers who return from Iraq wounded. Wounded soldiers not only face surgery and weeks of physical therapy and rehab, but they also face the painful task of finding emotional and spiritual healing from the trauma and stress of combat. One 19-year-old soldier was the only survivor when an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) exploded under his vehicle.

As he lay wounded, he watched four of his buddies die from their injuries. Learning that the soldier who saved his life was later killed by a sniper only added to his pain. As his chaplain, I am his counselor, his pastor, and his friend. We pray together and cry together, and as God heals him physically, emotionally, and spiritually, we laugh together. Brian is a hero—though he would never agree. It is such a blessing to watch these wounded heroes find God’s mercy and grace to help them in their time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Quiet Heroes

Perhaps the most overlooked heroes in our war against terror are families of soldiers who are left behind for more than a year at a time. Imagine being separated from your spouse or daddy or mommy, knowing that the person you love could be killed at any moment. Just this week, I ministered to a mother who wanted prayer in the middle of the night for her five-year-old son in the ER, two mothers who lost their babies, and a young wife in tears who was wondering how to cope with knowing that her husband and the father of her six-month-old baby serves in a unit that lost six soldiers during the last two weeks.  In each case, these families found God’s mercy and grace to help in their time of need.


As a pastor at, I serve a congregation where almost every family has a husband and dad serving in Iraq. Imagine looking down from the platform and seeing a wife and her three children worshiping with joy, when only a few weeks before you conducted the funeral service for her husband who had been killed in Iraq. I wish you could experience the faith, hope, comfort, and joy the members of our church find in Christ as we worship together. Even though they love and miss their soldiers, they choose to trust in the loving presence of God to protect and sustain them. These families who wait and sacrifice are truly heroes.

A few years ago, a good preacher friend of mine asked, “David, do you think you will ever get back into the ministry?” I smiled and laughed then, and I smile now as I think of the awesome ministry God has given me. I have ministered to our heroes on the battlefield and now I minister to our heroes at home.

Chaplain David Trodgon is faithfully serving as a Free Will Baptist chaplain in the United States Army.  He and his wife, Connie, live in Clarksville, TN.






©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists