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An Airborne Chaplain Who Found his Calling in the Classifieds

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.

Captain Jacques Albertyn, Chaplain for the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division was sitting in a church pew, third row from the front when he heard a voice calling him to a life in ministry.

“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.

Captain Jacques Albertyn, Chaplain for the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division didn’t think much about a small voice he heard in church calling him to ministry until he got home and opened up the classified ads of his local newspaper.

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.”

Panther Brigade Honors First Mass-Tactical Parachute Operation

Fort Bragg paratroopers and residents of South Carolina gathered in Camden, South Carolina on Thursday, March 29 to commemorate an event proving the 82nd Airborne was a viable concept in battle.

Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division and Kershaw County residents celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first mass parachute drop, an event largely seen as the proof-of-concept of large scale parachute operations in World War II.

The original jump occurred Monday, March 29th, 1943 and involved the entire 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment along with elements of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Led by then-Col. James Gavin, the paratroopers jumped from more than 120 C-47 aircraft before assaulting a nearby bridge over the Wateree River.

“The training exercise not only proved mass-tactical parachute operations were feasible and could be successful, it provided the men of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment valuable training before they departed the United States for the European Theater where they would conduct four Regimental-sized combat jumps; Sicily, Salerno, Normandy and Holland,” said Col. Gregory Beaudoin, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

A ceremony including a wreath-laying by members of the community commemorated the event which also honored WWII veterans present and their family members.

“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”