Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
may not have their own commands, but they have played important roles
throughout the years — including the 100 years Fort McCoy has been
in existence — in helping the Army accomplish its missions, said
Bishop Jerome Listecki.
Bishop Jerome Listecki of the La
Crosse Diocese speaks to personnel attending a prayer luncheon
at Fort McCoy.
(Photo by Allan Harding)
the bishop of the La Crosse, Wis., Catholic Diocese, was the guest
speaker at a Fort McCoy prayer luncheon June 10. The event honored
Fort McCoy celebrating its 100th anniversary and also recognized the
100th anniversary of a very important part of the Unit Ministry Team,
the chaplain assistant.
of his unique experiences, Listecki can talk about religion both
inside — Fort McCoy in particular — and outside the Army as he
served as a chaplain in the Army Reserve.
participated in more than 20 years of annual training as a chaplain at
Fort McCoy, beginning in 1983, and also has served as a contracted
Catholic priest, beginning in 1994, to provide religious support to
the Fort McCoy’s chaplain program.
me congratulate Fort McCoy on its 100th anniversary," Listecki
said. "Twenty-six years of my sweat is on this fort someplace.
Out in the field; in some of the barracks. My relationship with Fort
McCoy started in 1983 when I actually was told by then Baptist
Chaplain Dave Kennedy — a wonderful historian — about the
wonderful history at Fort McCoy."
Cuban refugees were here in 1980, and Fort McCoy underwent a
transformation from a camp to Fort McCoy, he said. Even though it didn’t
match Listecki’s concept of the installation from a city boy’s
standpoint, Kennedy sold him on duty at Fort McCoy with its common
the natural beauty was the beauty of the fact Fort McCoy was going to
be pulled together with a common purpose," he said. "A
purpose of being vigilant in the defense of the country."
personnel serve to preserve America’s way of life and its freedoms.
He said that in his role of bishop of the La Crosse Diocese he has
recruited priests from foreign countries. During his travels, he said
existing conditions invariably are worse than they are in the United
forget how blessed we are to have what we have," he said.
"And, when you’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fort
McCoy you’re celebrating people who have reached out and made the
sacrifice to serve so that it would preserve not only the way of life,
but the freedoms we have to enjoy."
can provide their services and support, in large part, because of the
invaluable assistance they receive from chaplain assistants, he said.
chaplain utilizing the talents and the specialty of his assistant is
able to serve the men and women of either brigade or division with a
clearer and sharper focus than if he didn’t have that
assistant," Listecki said.
one of the things talked about to improve efficiency is to contract
the chaplain’s services, Listecki said he believes that having
chaplains serving in the military is far more effective.
military rank makes chaplains more acceptable to other military
personnel than a civilian pastor or reverend would be, he said.
Chaplains are accepted by officers because they are an officer. They’re
also claimed by the enlisted personnel.
Soldiers can’t go to their immediate superior or commander, who are
they going to?" Listecki asked. "They’re going to go to
said chaplains are a combat or force multiplier because they can get
things done that may be very difficult to accomplish otherwise through
the chain of command. A former commander of his described them as the
cohesive glue that helps hold the unit together.
chaplain assistants performing duties at Fort McCoy were recognized
during the presentation. Sgt. 1st Class Robert Shepherd and Master
Sgt. Steve Ferguson, both chaplain assistants, performed songs during
the senior Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the Religious Support
Office, did an acapella rendition of "Did you Stop to Pray?"
Ferguson, a chaplain’s assistant with the 88th Regional Support
Command, performed "Even Soldiers Need a Place to Cry," a
song written by a family member of a Soldier at the 88th.
Chaplain (Col.) Steven Colwell said he first met Listecki at a
funeral. The bishop has brought a lot of support to the installation’s
faith program and given a lot of support to Soldiers during his
lot of faith has been shared here in (the installation’s) 100
years," Colwell said. "A lot of support has been given to
Soldiers and their needs to make sure they get the religious support
they need. That’s part of our heritage here at Fort McCoy."