Maj. Michael DuCharme (DOD photo)
I was reading through the Heroes section hosted by DOD and stumbled upon the story of Major Michael DuCharme, an Army chaplain. He joined the Army later in life, after the war in Iraq had started, knowing he would be deployed.
And he was – twice. He is still on active duty, and now understands his calling. “'[Soldiers] … face all the things: death, loss, heat, separation from family. And even though it’s hard, they go out and do it, day in and day out…with the goal of bringing each other home,’ DuCharme said. ‘When bad things happen, when people die, there is survivor’s guilt. Soldiers ask ‘Why not me?’ But if you struggle through it with God and others, you ironically come out with a deeper faith,’ he said.” (Quote from DefenseLink)
He spent the majority of his time counseling Soldiers. Sometimes the discussions involved faith; sometimes they didn’t. Regardless, Maj. DuCharme built relationships, and helped his Soldiers work through their personal challenges.
He tells the story of one Soldier who approached him for counseling. “’She had been distanced from God,’ DuCharme said. But following that conversation, they talked frequently and she started going to chapel services too, he noted. ‘She ended up getting killed shortly thereafter.’ While out in a convoy she was hit under her armor, just a few weeks before she was supposed to go home.
‘But I got to talk to her parent’s back home,’ he said. ‘It was a relief [for them]knowing that she was walking with God before she died.’” (DefenseLink)
His story is similar to the multitudes of chaplains who have deployed to some of the most dangerous places on earth to be there for the men and women in uniform. The troops trust them, and confide in them.
Maj. DuCharme sums up his experiences this way: “God tends to put you in the right place at the right time.”
Maj. DuCharme – a two time Bronze Star recipient – and the chaplains serving all over the world are our heroes of the week.