LIHUE, Hawaii (BP) -- Talk to Army Chaplain (Col.) Brent Causey long enough and you'll learn his ultimate hero is not Gen. David Petraeus, retired commander of forces in Afghanistan, now CIA director and his boss as they served in the war-torn country.
U.S. Army and Southern Baptist chaplain (Col.) Brent Causey (left) and an unidentified fellow officer travel via helicopter to visit troops in Afghanistan. Causey served 13 months in Afghanistan under Gen. David Petraeus.
Although Causey brims with admiration and respect for the four-star general, his real hero is his wife of 28 years, Susan, the mother of his two grown sons –- both college graduates -- and until recently, the woman the war separated him from for the past 13 months. When their first son was only six months old, Brent was deployed to Honduras. When his second son was six months old, Brent was serving in the Gulf War.
"We wives are always fighting the battle between trust in God and fear."
-- Susan Causey, chaplain's wife
"When Brent's gone, I have to figure out what to do with my life," Susan says. "You have to keep going because you have responsibilities. I had my sons to take care of."
Causey, 54, now in a new assignment with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C., was among several dozen military chaplains who recently attended the North American Mission Board's annual Southern Baptist Pacific Chaplains Conference in Lihue, Hawaii.
"I try to go to one of these NAMB conferences each year because it's so important for us to stay connected with our denomination," Causey said. "The conference is important for chaplains because of the collegiality among the chaplains. They know they have someone to go and talk to and get encouragement. There's a trust factor. Otherwise, you can be isolated out there on an island, which is detrimental to your ministry."
Over his 13 months in Afghanistan, Causey was as the top chaplain to Petraeus as well as the chaplains' supervisor throughout the Afghanistan war theater. He also was Petraeus' "point man" for diversity, responsible for religious leader engagement in the Islamic nation. During Causey's time there, weekly U.S. Army soldier deaths averaged in the double digits.
"It's our chaplains on the front lines who, with their faith, bring spirituality and emotional stability to our troops so they can do their mission," Causey said. "It's amazing to see the impact our evangelical Christian chaplains –- especially the Southern Baptist chaplains -– are having on our service people. That's because they have the answers to the questions most of our soldiers are searching for –- questions like 'Why are we fighting?' and 'What's the purpose of all this death?'
"In answering these questions, chaplains get the opportunity to give the real message of who Jesus Christ is, explain the empowerment Jesus can give and how He can sustain them through each day's events." Read More