First Chaplain team integrated with MEDCEUR

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman David Dobrydney
  • MEDCEUR 2010 Public Affairs
As the first chaplain team to be part of MEDCEUR, short for Medical Training Exercise in Central and Eastern Europe, Chaplain (Capt.) Joseph Fisher and Chapel Assistant Staff Sgt. Teresa Allen were ready to take the opportunity they'd been offered.

"In the field the chapel works closely with the [medical] group, just by nature of dealing with injuries and suffering, even death," said Chaplain Fisher, a Protestant minister from RAF Lakenheath, England.

Chaplain Fisher said that while previous MEDCEUR events, which deal with crisis response and natural disasters, did not include a chaplain team, this year one was incorporated in the earliest planning stages. Chaplain Fisher emphasized that the partnership between chaplain and chaplain assistant is foundational to support for commanders and troops alike, including the chaplain's responsibilities to advise commanders and first sergeants on issues affecting the troops.

"I like to think we're morale barometers; we keep our eyes and ears open," said Chaplain Fisher. "Sergeant Allen's going to hear things from the enlisted corps that she can pass on to me and I can then advise the commanders. It might be an issue they might not even be aware of, because they have a lot of field to cover."

As for Sergeant Allen, she sees MEDCEUR as a chance to build connections.

"I have a background in civil affairs and I thought [MEDCEUR] would be an opportunity to meet other nations and forge partnerships to learn more about other people," she said.
A chaplain's main responsibility, of course, is religious accommodation, no matter what a person's faith.

"That's always our main focus," said Chaplain Fisher. "That would extend, especially if this were a real-world scenario, to our host nation as they would need and utilize us."
Back at Lakenheath, Chaplain Fisher works mainly with the Mission Support Group, so it's been a new experience to be involved with an expeditionary medical squadron like the one here.

"It's neat to be in a working environment with people I've only had acquaintances with and get to know them better," said Chaplain Fisher. "We have good folks on this team."

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