First SOCEUR Chaplain builds unit resilience

Chaplain (Lt.Col.) Kevin Leideritz is the first permanently-assigned chaplain of Special Operations Command Europe. Chaplains are trained to serve any spiritual need, regardless of religious affiliation which allows the units readiness to increase. Photo by Staff Sgt. Larraine Whetstone/24th Press Camp HQ.

By Staff Sgt. Larraine Whetstone 

U.S. Special Operations Command Europe

The fast pace of the military is a reality many military couples deal with in their everyday lives. Maintaining open lines of communication is the foundation for sustaining a healthy family relationship U.S. Special Operations Command Europe Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Kevin Leideritz provided an opportunity for members of the SOCEUR family to strengthen their bonds during a marriage retreat at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany January 27-29.

Leideritz, SOCEUR’s first permanently-assigned chaplain and an Army officer, seized the opportunity to work with couples to better understand their individual personality traits, their partner’s love languages and ways to enhance a more healthy relationship during the three-day retreat.

Sgt. Major Michael Ennis, Special Operations Command Europe Information Operations Sergeant Major, takes lead on the exercise of the five love languages during a marriage retreat at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany, January 27-29. Each couple was divided up into five groups based on their character traits of love. Photo by Staff Sgt. Larraine Whetstone/24th Press Camp HQ.

“The marriage retreat is a great tool that helps my wife and I go back to the basics of understanding each other,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Gordon Randall, a finance officer who works in SOCEUR. “It helps by reminding us how to effectively communicate with each other and to be able to keep our relationship strongly bound.”

Leideritz also stressed the importance of working with your spouse in all tough situations, including when the spouse is away from home on deployments or training or managing their work schedules.

“I definitely left the event with our ‘love tank’ [as Chaplain Leideritz called it], full and our spirits revitalized,” said U.S. Army Maj. Benjamin Terwilliger, SOCEUR Headquarters Commandant.

In addition to offering pastoral care to individuals, and supporting their religious rights and needs, military chaplains also advise the command on issues of religion, ethics, morale and morals as affected by religion.

“Many folks can and do maintain their spirituality without a Chaplain, and/or when they do specifically need a Chaplains’ counsel they seek it from another Command, or they turn to the local community,” shared Terwilliger. “SOCEUR has operated this way for over 50 years. Prior to LTC Leideritz arrival late last year, SOCEUR members either got by without, or they went elsewhere for spiritual encounters…”

Terwilliger added, “Now that Chaplain LTC Leideritz is here, I can tell you the direct benefit has been his taking the burden of organizing and running a Memorial Service for a fallen teammate just a month ago, as well as offering individual counsel to the grieving.”
“I am here to assist with all matters; whether it is marriage, family, relationships, crisis, grief and spiritual questions,” said Leideritz.

The chaplain also works in conjunction with the Military and Family Life Consultants and the Family Readiness Coordinator to build unit resilience.

“Chaplain Leideritz is involved in the planning and delivery of several upcoming marriage retreats, single-day seminars, newcomer orientations, spouse training and social events,” said Ms. Holly Mann, SOCEUR family readiness coordinator. “The Chaplain is an integral resource to SOCEUR’s family resiliency program while providing support and training that strengthens communication and relationships amongst couples, parents and children, and peers.”
Mann continued while stressing the usefulness of these programs.

“Chaplain Leideritz brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to SOCEUR and is considered and investment in the ongoing readiness of our force and families,” said Mann. “Everyone is encouraged to participate in these activities and learn about the positive impact that has been made by Chaplain Leideritz.”

For information visit the chaplain located on Patch Barracks, building 2302, room 137.