Tag Archives: Good Chaplain

Comoros Islands National Day celebrates 47 years of independence from France

The Comoros Islands off the coast of East Africa celebrate National Day on July 6. Just like Independence Day in the United States, Comoros National Day marks the day the islands gained their independence from France.

When the Good Chaplain visited the capitol, Moroni, on the island of Grande Comore, when he deployed to Africa in 2010-2011. The islands only recently gained their independence from France in 1975. A referendum for independence passed with only one of the four main islands — Mayotte voting against it. The other three islands, Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Moheli, voted for the referendum and formed the Union of the Comoros.

A constitutional referendum passed in 2018 eliminated the long standing single five-year presidential term two terms. Since 2001, the presidency rotated among the three islands. The referendum also designated Islam as the state religion and granted the president power to eliminate the three vice presidents — one from each island.

Roughly 98 percent of the population is Muslim, with Sunni Islam as the main branch, with African Arabs making up the majority ethnic group, with 86 percent of the population. The Good Chaplain met one of the few non-Muslims on the islands. This man (whose name is being withheld for his protection) was well-respected and well-known on the islands. “Everyone knew him,” the Good Chaplain said. Comoros is the only Muslim-majority country in Southern Africa.

The man converted from Islam to Christianity while attending school in the United States. He realized he couldn’t find answers about God in the Quran, but were in the Christian Bible and he converted. They imprisoned him for two years when he returned to the island, for converting, but eventually let out of prison and became a well-known member of the community. I’ll tell you more about him in my next book on the Good Chaplain’s African deployment.

Comoros Flag

According to the 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Comoros – United States Department of State) put out by the US Department of State, “significant human rights issues” include torture, arbitrary detention, abysmal prison conditions, political prisoners restrictions on free expression, the press and the internet, severe restrictions on religious freedom, corruption, human trafficking, criminalizing same-sex relationships between adults, and forced child labor.

Despite the deplorable human rights conditions, the Comoros Islands is a ‘place of amazingly warm, friendly people, all-around fantastic weather, and world-class beaches,” according to The Unusual Traveler blog. The author of the blog post found the islands to be safe, even when walking around at night. “The biggest danger here is, as always, the traffic,” he wrote.

All-in-all, the Good Chaplain enjoyed his visit to Moroni and I can’t wait to share his trip with you in the next book.

Until then,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

A Tribute to Military Fathers Where Ever They May Be

It seems like Father’s Day gets buried in the business of life. I feel like Father’s Day sneaks up on me and then I am scrambling to get cards out. This year is no exception. It’s Wednesday, and I still haven’t mailed the two cards I need to send — to my dad and my deployed son-in-law.

Military Dads are special. They work hard. They play hard. And they make time to strengthen bonds with their family. I know other dads do those things as well, but not at the same time they are protecting our nation.

Military dads are strong, disciplined, focused, resilient, and centered. It is sometimes hard for them to compartmentalize between work and family. And they miss a lot of their children’s special moments because duty comes first.

I know the Good Chaplain always tried to make it up to our daughters if he missed something important, like a school recital or play. But when he was home, he made himself available to the girls, no matter how tired he was after work.

Tyler and the boys making memories!
My favorite military dad!

A military dad takes the time to explain to his children why he gave an order. (Some of them give orders at home too.) He takes time to show them how things work, what he does and who he is. And he takes pride when someone comments on how well behaved his children are. He’s done his job and taught them structure and discipline.

I can’t count the number of times the Good Chaplain said we needed to do something to “make memories” before he left on a deployment. He was right. Remembering the fun we had before he left helped us look forward to making more memories when he got home.

Sometimes the military has to come first, and sometimes the family has to come first. A military dad knows this and figures out a way to balance everything. And when he can’t be there, a military dad transfers his powers to a military mom to carry on until he comes home again.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there. Dad, your card is in the mail. Tyler, you might get yours after the holiday, but we are thinking of you.

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

How to layout my new book. Take a poll to help.

The best advice I ever got as a reporter and writer was “Puke it out and clean it up later.” It means get your thoughts, stories, articles or whatever down on paper and then go back to edit and make it look pretty. Do you think I can do that?

Not a chance. With my new book about the Good Chaplain’s deployment to Africa, I’m trying to get the rough draft done, but every time I sit down to write, I think about previous sections and how I can improve them.

First person or third person?

I’m also confused whether it is better in the first person or third person. Some parts work well in the third person, but the rest of it seems to lend itself to the first person. Right now, I am leaning toward the first person.

The second dilemma is how to organize the book. You all can help me with that. Should I set up the book by month, or by country? I started out by country, then set it up by month. The issue with the country route is he visited some countries more than once. But I can fix that easily.

By month, country, or people?

Or, and here is the big question — should I set up the book with each chapter a story of the people he met? Now I’m thinking maybe this is the way to go. The working title is “East Africa: Stories of Hope and Faith.” Maybe a little less of what the Good Chaplain did and more about the people’s story is the way to go.

Your help with this will allow me to write the best book possible to inspire, educate, and entertain my readers.

Thanks for your time and input.

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

The ever-changing plans of military life are infuriating

Tech Sergeant was supposed to deploy very soon, but now that is on hold. I can only imagine what my daughter, Mrs. Tech Sergeant, feels.

I’m sure she is happy and relieved that he is home longer, but he is not off the hook yet, so I’m also sure she is anxious, wondering when the orders will drop.

The Good Chaplain and I experienced these feelings a few times. However, one event will always stand out to me. The Good Chaplain was going to Guam to support Iraqi/Kurdish refugees, but literally at the last minute — I remember we were walking out the door to go to the airport — the Air Force canceled the trip. Grrrr!

I was angry. You’re wondering why I would be mad? I’ll tell you why. Once the Air Force notified the Good Chaplain of the deployment, I started mentally and emotionally preparing for the separation. I started doing more things independently, detaching myself from my dependence on the Good Chaplain.

I tended to do that. I subconsciously pulled back, especially emotionally. The Good Chaplain wanted to spend quality time and” make memories,” but I felt the goodbye was more painful if we grew closer to each other right before he left. I felt that way towards friends during PCS season as well. I was an absolute joy to be around.

Anyway, as we made preparations for the Good Chaplain’s departure, we heard the mission was shutting down shortly after he arrived. So it made no sense for him to go for a few weeks. So the Good Chaplain raised the question, but the deployment people (whoever they are) claimed it would be a hardship on the present chaplain because it extended his deployment by a few weeks. So the Good Chaplain was going.

But then, on the day of departure, as we prepared to go to the airport, the Good Chaplain’s phone rang. The Air Force canceled the deployment. They said it made no sense for the Good Chaplain to go to Guam when the mission was shutting down in two weeks. Duh!

I was angry that we spent so much time preparing physically, emotionally, and mentally for naught at the last minute and canceled for reasons we brought up earlier.

Gotta love the military!

Until next time,

Vicki

My thoughts and prayers go out to the citizens of Ukraine and for our soldiers and allies amassed on the western border, prepared to fight if necessary.

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

13 million Ethiopians face famine due to prolonged drought and war but hope is on the horizon

The Good Chaplain visited Ethiopia and Kenya several times during his deployment to East Africa in 2010-11. Now, the area is suffering from massive famine due to several reasons.

“After three consecutive failed rainy seasons, an estimated 13 million people face severe hunger in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Livestock are dying, crops are failing, and livelihoods are at risk due to the worst drought in decades. As more and more families are forced to move in search of water and pasture, intercommunal conflicts are sure to erupt in their wake.”

Michael Dunford in CTGN.com Feb, 23, 2022
Animals in East Africa are dying because pastures are dried up.

Besides the drought, the East African area is also battling a war in northern Ethiopia, COVID-19, and rising costs due to those factors. With the last three rainy seasons failing to produce enough water, pastures have dried up, animals have died and families moved elsewhere to find food, water, and pasturelands.

According to an article in Times of Africa magazine, the World Food Program estimates about 40 percent of the Tigrayans in Northern Ethiopia are suffering from an extreme lack of food. The conflict between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the Ethiopian government began in November 2020 when the Tigrayan forces took control of most of the territory. Tens of thousands of Tigrayans died and millions were displaced, causing a shortage of food in that area and nearby Afar and Amhara.

Tigray is in the far north of Ethiopia. Due to war and extreme drought, the area is experiencing massive famine.

But there is a reason for hope. The International Government Authority on Development’s ICPAC (Climate Prediction and Applications Center) recently predicted a more robust rainy season in East Africa, although parts of Ethiopia in the northeast, may experience less rain than usual. In addition, ICPAC warned that any benefits of a solid rainy season, which runs from March to May, will not be seen immediately.

“The March-to-May rainy season is really, really important for many countries in the region. In the region, it accounts for about 70% of the total annual rainfall. So, obviously if there were to be a renewed failure of the rains, there would be massive socioeconomic consequences.”

Good Rainy Season Forecast for Parts of Drought-Stricken …. https://www.voanews.com/a/good-rainy-season-forecast-for-parts-of-drought-stricken-horn-of-africa/6450948.html

The Good Chaplain experienced drought in Ethiopia when he visited, but it was nothing like the situation now. Please pray for peace and an end to the drought soon for all the people involved.

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

Russia is threatening my peaceful lifestyle and the Good Chaplain’s retirement

With all that is going on with Russia right now, I wondered if the Good Chaplain could be recalled to active duty if needed. Guess what? The answer is yes.

“Our retirement pay is really a retainer,” the Good Chaplain says. And it is.

If your spouse is retired, there is a line on their DD214 form that says they may be recalled to active duty when necessary. We know it happened once.

In 1991, the Good Chaplain was re-commissioned from the Chaplain Candidate program into the Air Force Reserves. At the time, we lived in a town without a military installation nearby. The first Gulf War was happening, and the local National Guard unit was activated. Two retired colonels, probably in their 70s, were called upon to man the armory. One of them commissioned the Good Chaplain.

It can happen, but I pray it doesn’t. The issues between Russia and Ukraine are ugly. In my opinion, I fear Vladimir Putin is going to try to put the USSR back together and maybe go further into Europe. It reminds me so much of what I have read about Hitler and World War II. I’m scared.

This map shows Russian troops amassed on the border of Ukraine

I’m scared for the Ukrainians. I’m afraid for Eastern Europe, and I’m scared we might end up in another war. Nobody wants that. But by protecting the borders between Ukraine and Poland, Romania, and the rest of our NATO allies, maybe we can avoid a long, protracted war and let Russia know that can’t just grab any land they want. That’s my national pride coming out.

Please just pray with me that the powers on both sides can resolve this issue peacefully with no loss of life. And please pray for those troops, mainly from Ft. Bragg, who are deployed to the region.

Sorry, this is so gloomy today, but it is definitely on my mind. I don’t want the Good Chaplain to come out of retirement. Russia is messing with my peaceful way of life..

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

Eye-opening Africa deployment taught us both life lessons about hope

In 2010, the Air Force tasked the Good Chaplain to deploy to Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. I was so excited for him. What a terrific opportunity to work with people in dire need of help.

The deployment ended up being good for both of us. The Good Chaplain visited several countries in Eastern Africa and met with dignitaries and impoverished people alike. I got to experience life independently without another human being in the house with me.

The Good Chaplain arrived in Djibouti on November 11, 2010. We celebrated Thanksgiving on November 6 since he would be gone for the actual holiday. I imposed myself on my BFF and his family for Thanksgiving, but they didn’t seem to mind. Meanwhile, the Good Chaplain served Thanksgiving dinner to the troops for about two hours.

“It was fun to do chaplain things versus office things,” he said.

Generally, we would both serve at the base dining hall for a few hours and then get together with friends to share a meal on Thanksgiving Day. However, it was a different sort of holiday for both of us.

This deployment was quite different from the first time the Good Chaplain was gone for a holiday. That time he was gone for Christmas, we were in Alaska, and I threw myself one heck of a pity party. That was my most challenging deployment. And to think I got upset when he was gone on Mother’s Day during his Air Force Reserve years. That was nothing.

As he prepared to leave, I instructed the Good Chaplain to make sure he bought gifts from local women who sold their goods to earn a living. And he listened. While not all the presents he brought back were from women, many of them were made by local artisans and beautifully made at that.

This beautiful hand-carved trunk was one of the gifts the Good Chaplain brought back from Africa

We both learned lessons from that deployment. I learned how strong and independent I could be living all by myself. The Good Chaplain saw how faithful, hopeful, and generous people who had nothing (at least in our eyes) were in a part of the world which struggled with extreme poverty, drought, and warfare for many centuries.

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

Four Chaplains’ Story Epitomizes the Role of Military Chaplaincy

Seventy-eight years ago tomorrow, Feb. 3, four Army Chaplains gave their life jackets to crew members of the doomed and sinking Army Transport Ship Dorchester, thus sealing their own fate.

The four chaplains — Lt. George Fox, a Methodist; Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish Rabbi; Lt. John Washington, a Roman Catholic Priest; and Lt. Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister — embody the spirit of what it means to be a chaplain in the Armed Forces.

The Four Chaplains’ stamp issued on May 28, 1948.

They were four men of 902 aboard the Dorchester, traveling from Newfoundland, Canada to an American base in Greenland when a German U-boat torpedoed the ship. Amidst the panic on board, the four chaplains spread out and started tending to the wounded and calming the frightened soldiers.

Because of the way the ship listed, survivors could not launch several lifeboats on the port side. As one story tells it,

Petty Officer John J. Mahoney, reeling from the cold, headed back towards his cabin. “Where are you going?” a voice of calm in the sea of distressed asked. “To get my gloves,” Mahoney replied. “Here, take these,” said Rabbi Goode as he handed a pair of gloves to the young officer. “I can’t take those gloves,” Mahoney replied. “Never mind,” the Rabbi responded. “I have two pairs.” It was only long after that Mahoney realized that the chaplain never intended to leave the ship.

John Brinsfield, published by the US Army, January 28, 2014

The four chaplains also passed out life jackets and when they realized there were no more to be given, they each took off their own life jackets, helping to save four more men, at the expense of their own lives.

 “It was the finest thing I have seen or hope to see this side of heaven.”

A survivor from the Dorchester. US Army, January 28, 2014

The chaplains stood on the deck of the Dorchester, arms linked, singing hymns, and praying. They were among the 674 people who died that day. The 230 survivors were rescued by two cutter ships accompanying the convoy across the seas.

The chaplains were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart posthumously, but because their death didn’t meet the requirements to receive the Medal of Honor, a special medal for heroism, the Four Chaplains’ Medal, was awarded to the men on January 18, 1961.

A replica of the Four Chaplains’ Medal

They are the only four to ever receive the medal, and it will never be awarded to anyone else.

This story makes me so proud of our chaplain corps. As a retired chaplain’s wife, I know my own husband would do the same thing if he was required to. When the New York City Fire Department chaplain died on September 11, 2001, I looked at the Good Chaplain and said, “That would probably be you if you could be there.” He would have been doing his job, helping people right in the thick of things.

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of the new book, Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse available here or by clicking the Shop tab above.

Snowmaggedon finally hit central Illinois. My grand-pup, Korben, the golden retriever, is enjoying himself with his buddy, Tucker.

News Items Bring Back Fond Memories of the Good Chaplain’s Deployment to Eastern Africa


The enset, or false banana plant. When the Good Chaplain saw the article, he said, “Hey, I’ve eaten that!”

The Good Chaplain saw an article the other day on false bananas, and it brought back a flood of memories about his time in Eastern Africa. Lately, many news items bring back memories of his deployment in 2010-11 to Djibouti. On Sunday, our local Illinois Army National Guard unit deployed 200 people to Djibouti.

All this news comes at a good time as I outline our book on the Good Chaplain’s time in Eastern Africa. The working title is Eastern Africa: Stories of Hope and Faith.

We have fond, and not so fond, memories of that deployment. The Good Chaplain had terrific experiences traveling around that portion of the continent and visiting with orphanages, village leaders, ambassadors, and even the Ethiopian Pope of the Orthodox Church.

I had fun too, visiting Illinois Girl, my parents, and being free to come and go as I pleased.

No one comes away from a deployment unchanged.

Victoria Terrinoni

But a friend was also killed in Afghanistan during this time. And there was the monster tornado bearing down on Moore, Oklahoma, where we lived at the time. So those are sad and scary memories.

Each deployment has its good times and bad for both the deployed member and the partner left at home. Unfortunately, no one comes away from a deployment unchanged. It’s the nature of the beast.

But we must make the best of the time apart to grow and learn. So I look forward to each opportunity to discover a new strength or talent. And now that we are retired, I wonder when he will go away again — at least for a night!

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse. She followed the Good Chaplain around for 31 years as a military spouse. Available on Amazon or the Shop tab above.

Being a kept woman was satisfying and fun while it lasted

Someone once asked me what I do for a living, and I quickly replied, “I am a kept woman.”

Let me put out there that the Good Chaplain has never endorsed this view. But especially in the last part of his career, I didn’t work for financial gain. I lived off him.

The dictionary doesn’t define “kept woman,” but I have my own. A kept woman is a woman who does nothing but play. She doesn’t work outside the home for money and, she has no children, or they are grown up and out of the house. This last point is crucial. Stay-at-home moms are not kept women because of the very idea that they are raising children. She is not free to go out when she pleases and frequently needs to be home when the kids get home from school. Too many restrictions to be considered a kept woman. Sorry, stay-at-home moms. Your day will come.

Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA production on Pexels.com

Don’t get me wrong, though. My definition of a kept woman is not what you see in movies like “Goodfellas,” where the mobsters all have a woman on the side stashed away in a penthouse living in the lap of luxury. I’m a military spouse. I don’t think anyone considers our lifestyle luxurious.

Photo by Jou00e3o Gustavo Rezende on Pexels.com

I didn’t become a kept woman until we moved to Alaska the second time in 2006. It was the last time I had a paying job, and my girls were in college. The lifestyle fits my definition. I came and went as I pleased. I joined various organizations such as the Spouse Club, squadron spouse groups, the women’s group at the chapel, and others. I volunteered, mainly at the Thrift Shop on different bases.

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Sometimes I felt guilty about being a kept woman since it required the Good Chaplain to supply all my money to have fun. But he didn’t seem to mind. He always reminded me that it was “our” money and that I contributed in other ways like cooking meals and cleaning the house (insert hysterical laughter here). I hate housework, but I couldn’t justify hiring a cleaning service while I lolled around all day as a kept woman.

Now that I’ve published a book and am working on a second one, along with writing this blog, I’m not sure if I can still call myself a kept woman. The Good Chaplain put up the seed money for the first book, but I am making some money off it, so I am technically bringing in some income, so the answer is no. But it was fun while it lasted.

Until next time,

Vicki

Do you aspire to be a kept woman? Are you one already? Let me know in the comment section below.

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse. She followed the Good Chaplain around for 31 years as a military spouse. To purchase her book, go to the Buy Here tab on this website.