The Panther Family is happy to welcome Lt. Col. Aaron Cox as he assumes command of the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion and his family! Cox assumed command of the battalion Wednesday, June 20th during a Fort Bragg Ceremony.
We also bid a bittersweet farewell to Lt. Col. Donald Crawford and his family and wish them well as they begin the next chapter of their lives!
82nd Airborne Division Paratroopers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team and their families recently celebrated the coming summer season with competition, sweat and fellowship.
Paratroopers and families of 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment participated in a Functional Fitness Family Day on Friday, June 2 on Fort Bragg to kick off the summer season.
“Our sincere desire is to strengthen our internal and external relationships across the 2Panther Force and increase the morale and welfare of our team,” said Lt. Col. Graham White, the 2-505 PIR Commander. “We also want to leave a lasting and positive impact on our families, particularly our children whom we hope to motivate to adopt healthy and active lifestyles while developing an appreciation for our nation’s many freedoms.”
Paratroopers and family members attending the event participated in numerous family functional fitness events including a couples and individual competitions, a children’s competition and a family fun-run.
For the family-focused event, the battalion partnered with Corvias Foundation.
“Corvias Foundation is proud to support this Functional Fitness Family Day and the long-term health and wellness of the military members in the 2-505th PIR,” shared John G. Picerne, Founder of Corvias and Corvias Foundation. “We were honored to step in to help this special event.”
After the fitness events, a dunk-tank offered attendees the chance to soak of the battalion’s command group, a slip n’slide was available for everyone else to cool off and a cook-off gave everyone the chance to refuel and fellowship. Ending the event was a ceremony where each of the battalion’s companies unveiled their new emblem and an awards ceremony recognized excellence and achievement within the ranks.
“This event is all about fun, fitness and camaraderie,” said White. “Through events like these, I want to strengthen not only the physical endurance of our paratroopers and families, but also the relationship they have with each other and their resiliency to challenges and adversity.”
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.”