Fr Damian Styles is a tank of a man – and that’s apt. He’s a military chaplain who trained as a tank soldier. He was once nearly crushed by a tank. He got his licence to drive a tank before his licence to drive a car. Source: Catholic Voice.
Tanks are his thing. And God: “A chaplain walks with people in the environment that often leads to the big questions in life,” Fr Styles says.
His role is, in effect, to be a priest in uniform. Where soldiers deploy, he will also be deployed. He says that gives him the opportunity to reflect the values of the gospels in the toughest situations.
“The Christian values and military values can uplift a person to be a genuine faith-filled person and live a great life within multiple forms of service for community and country,” he says.
His mission as a military chaplain is unlike many others, with what he calls its graces and challenges, sometimes in testing circumstances.
“The important element for successful ministry is that the chaplain identifies with military personnel, becomes one with them, wears their uniform and willingly shares their sacrifices,” he says.
“In this particular ministry of the Church, it is a mission to ensure that the presence of Christ reaches those women and men who offer themselves in service to the nation.”
He has been deployed four times, including to Afghanistan and East Timor. He has also served in Australia and received a Conspicuous Service Medal for service to the 1st Brigade in Darwin.
He likes the challenge of working with soldiers, some with faith and some without.
“It is a great opportunity to work with a dynamic and diverse group of people and their families, mostly young men and women, Catholic, denominational, inter-faith or even those without any sense of faith,” he said.
Bringing the presence of Christ to the Military (Catholic Voice)