Staff Sergeant Edward Chambers, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division’s Senior Religious Support Specialist was promoted from the rank of Sergeant Thursday, September 6.
Chambers assist the brigade’s chaplain in ensuring the religious and spiritual needs of the brigade are met. He also facilitates events supporting the resilience and familial wellbeing of paratroopers in the brigade.
An 82nd Airborne Division legend was recently laid to rest.
The life, valor and accomplishments of retired Army 1st Sgt. Harold Eatman were celebrated during his funeral services held July 11 at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Charlotte, North Carolina. Eatman died in the first week of July 2018 at the age of 102.
“Today we celebrate the life and remember a true hero and we pray he is soon welcomed into the arms of our heavenly Father,” said Fr. Christopher Roux, the Pastor of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral during Eatman’s funeral service.
Eatman was a member of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment and participated in the regiment’s four combat jumps into Sicily, Salerno, Normandy and Holland during World War II. He volunteered for the Army in early 1942 after learning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and served his first tour of duty in Hawaii. There, he reenlisted to join the newly forming paratroop units and was assigned to the 505th PIR.
“Paratroopers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team follow in the footsteps of legends like 1st Sgt. Eatman,” said Col. Arthur Sellers, Commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, the parent unit of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 505th PIR. “Men and women of the Panther Brigade proudly carry on his legacy by remaining ready to answer our nation’s call to jump, fight and win on any drop zone in the world.”
In 2015, Eatman and six other WWII veterans received the French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration bestowed in France. He was also the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.
“Greater love has no man, that he would lay down his life and he [Eatman] was willing to do it,” said Roux, quoting a passage from the Bible. “Our country recognizes him as a hero and I suspect heaven recognizes him as a hero, too, because he lived those words of sacred scripture.”
For one Chaplain serving in the 82nd Airborne Division, his calling did not come in the form of a thunderous voice or dramatic event. It came when he opened the local classified section.
Captain Jacques Albertyn, the Battalion Chaplain for the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, heard a soft voice while sitting in a church pew, third row from the front. He didn’t think about it much until getting home and reaching for the newspaper.
“My calling happened March 10th, 2002. Some people might have that big moment where God speaks to them in a thunderous voice or something dramatic happened in their lives that calls them to ministry,” said Albertyn. “For me, it was a quiet voice.”
Albertyn was born in Pinelands, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, in a hospital that was once a Catholic Monastery. A Southern Baptist and endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention, he attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Orlando Campus before joining the Army.
“Military Chaplaincy is about selfless service, it is about giving yourself to others with no expectation of receiving anything else in return,” said Albertyn about ministering to Soldiers. “Army Chaplaincy provided me with an opportunity to walk next to the young men and women that serve this country, to share God’s presence with them and support them in the midst of anxiety and fear.
Albertyn had just started a new career at a local company in Florida after immigrating to the United States when he heard that voice in church.
I am calling you for my people the voice said, calling him by name. After getting home from church, Albertyn prayed to God to reveal the ministry He wanted Albertyn to serve in. “As I opened the newspaper, on the left page there was a quarter-page advertisement about the need for U.S. Army Chaplains to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Albertyn. “I looked at the ad, read it and went onto the next page, thinking to myself ‘that is not church.’
“Each time I served in a church since that day, my wife would say ‘You do know this is not where God wants you to serve,” continued Albertyn. “It might have taken me 14 years to get into the Army, but every day I serve as a Chaplain is a blessing as I fulfill my true and direct calling from God.”
Being a faith leader in an Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team requires not only steadfast courage to conduct static-line airborne operations, but also empathy to understand the reservations some paratroopers have before jumping. Primarily, it demands a chaplain serve alongside those he ministers to.”
“Being Airborne is not just a job, it is a way of life. Airborne is not for everyone, but those who are here deserve a chaplain who will look after them,” said Albertyn. “Airborne operations provide an aspect of service that can challenge the toughest soldier. Being next to paratroopers through their challenges and hearing their opinions, fears and joys about jumping is what military Chaplaincy is all about.”