Panther Recon paratroopers and their family members from the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment spent their Saturday morning volunteering at a local Fayetteville Ministry.
The paratroopers and family members spent the morning of Saturday, September 8th volunteering at the Fayetteville Urban Ministry.
Organized by the Battalion Chaplain, Capt. Oleksandr Ishchuk, the volunteer effort focused on completing much-needed yardwork around the building and interior painting.The volunteer effort strengthened the existing partnership between the Fayetteville Urban Ministry and 5-73 CAV while preparing the building and grounds for the holiday season.
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.”
As a child, Capt. Oleksandr Ishchuk dreamed of becoming an officer in the Ukrainian Army. Today, he is fulfilling his life’s calling as a Chaplain in the United States Army’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
“Serving in the U.S. Army as a chaplain is a fulfillment of the mission I know God calls me to,” said Ishchuk. “It is also an opportunity for me to serve the country that extended hospitality while offering refuge and endless opportunities to me and my family.”
When he was fifteen, Ishchuk became a Christian and, soon after that, a youth minister. In 2003, he and his family immigrated to the US from Ukraine. Almost immediately, Ishchuk had the opportunity to minister to a few friends; some veterans and others still serving in the Army. From them, he learned about military chaplaincy.
“From that point on, I felt a very clear and unmistakable calling to the ministry of military chaplaincy,” said Ishchuk. “From day one of Junior College, military chaplaincy was IT. There was never a ‘Plan B.”
Ishchuk grew up in the small Ukrainian village of Kamynitsa located on the border with Slovakia in the Carpathian Mountains. After immigrating to the US, he eventually graduated in 2014 with a Masters in Divinity from Western Seminary in Sacramento California and is currently endorsed by the Evangelical Church Alliance.
His family persecuted for their faith during the USSR’s occupation of Ukraine, Ishchuk sees the freedom to worship and practice his faith as the greatest freedom. Military chaplaincy, he says serves and protects that freedom for the American people while setting an example for the rest of the world.
“To serve in the U.S. Army as a Chaplain is an amazing gift from God and from the American people who trust me with their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives,” said Ischchuk. “For this precious gift and privilege, I am very grateful”