Transportation Soldiers use fellowship to better community

Story and Photo by Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — The 49th Transportation Battalion, out of Fort Hood, Texas, held a men’s prayer breakfast Dec. 5 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, as part of its effort to leave the community here better than they found it.

“This was a follow-up to Chaplain (Capt. Carlos A.) Molina’s women’s prayer dinner,” said Lt. Col. Peter Haas, commander of the 49th Trans. Bn. and a Fleetwood, Penn., native.

Haas said the women’s prayer dinner was a big success, so a men’s event was requested.

“The goal was to focus on ministry to men and give men the opportunity to worship without offending anyone,” said Molina, chaplain for the 49th Trans. Bn., 90th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, native.

Molina said the two events, which featured worship music, readings from the Bible and a short sermon, allowed him to offer fellowship catered to a specific demographic without leaving anyone out.

The event, open to men at JBB, was part of an effort by the 49th to improve the community.

“What I’m trying to do is reach out beyond the battalion,” said Molina.

Though his area of expertise is in the field of ministry, Molina said the 49th has begun a sort of “good neighbor project” to improve JBB as a whole.

“As part of the Balad community, we felt like we should do something to make it a better place to serve,” said Haas.

Earlier this year, the 49th adopted Killeen Field, an athletic field at JBB, as part of this project.

Volunteers from the unit clean the field three to four times a week, said Hass, and the 49th coordinated with the 90th Ordnance Battalion to install new lights and build a shed next to the field.

“We live on a large post,” said Molina, “and we’re part of a joint effort.”


news photo
Chief Warrant Officer David Marriott, an automotive technician with the 514th Support Maintenance Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a St. Petersburg, Fla., native, performs a worship song at the Men’s Prayer Breakfast Dec. 5 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.