A PRAYER FOR THANKSGIVING |

November 27, 2013

Name: Charlie Sherpa
Previously embedded: with former unit in Afghanistan
Hometown: Boone, Iowa
Milblog: Red Bull Rising
Email: SherpaatRedBullRising.com

Members of the Iowa National Guard's 833rd Engineer Company (833rd Eng. Co.) this week returned from clearing mines in Afghanistan, while 40 members of Bravo Company, 248th Aviation Support Battalion (248th A.S.B.) are heading out to Kosovo.

Framed Sherpa PRAYER 1It is a time of thanksgiving and prayer. In his annual Thanksgiving letter, Army Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr, the adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard, put it this way:

In the first time in 12 years, the Iowa National Guard does not have units currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, but we we do have individual deployers in the Central Command theater and one unit preparing at their mobilization station for deployment to Kosovo. It is a time to pause, to reflect, and to remember those who have sacrificed so much to insure liberty for all of us.

I've always held "Iowa's Engineers" in high regard. Back in the day, I was a member of the 833rd Eng. Co.'s higher headquarters. The Hawkeye patch they wear echoes the Mexican-water-jug shape of the 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division patch.

During one field exercise with the Engineers, I found myself selected to fill-in for the chaplain for the evening prayer. I always like to say that I can be spontaneous, but I usually need to plan ahead. While the commander was speaking in front of the formation, I jotted down a few words.

In the years that have followed, I've thought about those words often. I wish I could find that notecard now, but have tried to re-create the sentiment and spirt of the thing here. I think it still works as an all-purpose prayer of thanksgiving, and offer it here:

Dear Lord,

Help us clear the obstacles we create for ourselves, and protect us from our enemies' actions. Provide us strength, wisdom, forgiveness, and humor.

In your name and example, let us try to be better leaders, and followers, and friends to each other.

Keep our buddies close, our spirits up, and our rucksacks full. Most of all, keep our homes and families safe.

Thank you for our many blessings, and the opportunity to serve.

Essayons ... and amen.

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