Navy Chaplin Lt. Raymond Rivers is on his second tour with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and today is the subject of a WAPO feature story: A Man of the Cloth and Uniform
gallery of Nikki Kahn photos Faith in the Desert with the men of Charlie Company, Two LAR
In July 2008 Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson Regimental Combat Team -wrote about the chaplin and also took the pictures for his story on the widows of Rutbah:
By Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson
Regimental Combat Team -5
RUTBAH, Iraq – A man of faith gave blessings to more than 10 families without fathers recently.
Navy Lt. Raymond Rivers, a chaplain with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, and Marines with Security Platoon, 2nd LAR packed up and delivered food and supplies to widows, July 16.
"I'm very happy with this project and helping the widows of this city," said Rivers, 43, from Anderson, S.C. "It's an outstanding opportunity to help them establish themselves."
During the mission, the Marines loaded a group of Iraqi police trucks with supplies for transportation to the city council building here. Upon arrival at the building, Iraqi policemen and the members of the Security Platoon emptied the supplies for future distribution to more than 10 families that have been raised by widows.
"I would like to say thanks for helping them," said Imam Mahmud Ahmid Modhen, 65, Islam leader of Rutbah. "Family is very important to these women, and it's hard to raise them without a husband."
The event brought hope and happiness to the city council because of the selfless promise and execution by Rivers. It served as another bonding element between the people of Rutbah and coalition forces.
"My logic is to treat people the way you want to be treated," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Greg S. Bennett, 29, religious program specialist, 2nd LAR, from Decatur, Ga. "If I was on the other side of the fence, I would want somebody to help me."
Rivers and the imam met after the event to schedule more operations to benefit the families.
According to Rivers, it has been a breakthrough to combine minds with a region's leader of a different religion
"This has been one of the highlights for me and (Petty Officer 2nd Class) Bennett's time out here," said Rivers. "We want the best for the people and it's great to help them."