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“There Was Never A Plan “B”

As a boy, Capt. Oleksandr Ishchuk dreamed of serving in the Ukrainian Army. Today, he is fulfilling his life’s calling as Chaplain for the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

 

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”

 

All American Cav Spouses Earn Their Spurs

Over 70 Cavalry Spouses of the 82nd Airborne Division recently earned the right to be named “Spur Holders.”

Spouses from three of the 82nd’s Cavalry Squadrons; 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment and 1st and 5th Squadrons of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment participated in a Cavalry Spouse Spur Ride February 15th on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“Cavalry is a mindset. It is a culture of embracing risk to protect others from surprise and discover opportunities. All Cavalry Squadrons have that in common with one another,” said Lt. Col. Scott Pence, Commander of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. “When we do an event like this with our spouses, it forges a bond between us all.”

Organized by Pence’s squadron, this was the first spur ride involving spouses from the division’s multiple Cavalry Squadrons. The day-long event began at Pike Field with participants dividing into groups and proceeding to stations testing their physical fitness and mental agility. Stations included the Field Leader’s Reaction Course, the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer and the U.S. Army Advanced Airborne School.

“We wanted Cavalry Spouses from across the division to come out here and feel pride in accomplishing difficult tasks,” said Lt. Col John Tackaberry, Commander of the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.  “Events like this build strong bonds within Family Readiness Groups and strong FRGs are the backbone of support for the Cavalry trooper when we are out in the field or deployed.”

The Spouse Spur Ride developed camaraderie between spouses and within the FRG said Mrs. Jennifer Smith, a spouse of a soldier assigned to Headquarters, Headquarters Troop, 1-17 CAV.  When spouses see events like this, just get out and participate; you will be glad you did and get to know a lot of people you can rely on in the future she continued.