Table of Contents
· TAG's Message
· CSM Message
· 108th Passes First Year Mark in NETTF
· Band of Brothers - and Sisters
· 177th CE Deploys to RAF Mildenhall
· Cavalry MOUTs up at Fort Knox
· 21st CST Go For Hot Zone
· Operation Whirlwind
· Chaplain Beats the Devil out of Soldiers
· News Guard Families Can Use

· Short Rounds
· Army and Air Enlisted Promotions
· Farewell to Brig. Gen. Bell
· Family Assistance Centers & Family Readiness Centers
· Guardlife Information

Guardlife - Volume 31, No. 4

Chaplain Beats The Devil Out Of Soldiers
By Sgt. 1st Class Robert Stephenson, NJDMAVA/PA

By day she counsels soldiers on everything from dealing with family separation to mild depression,but after hours, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Joanne Martindale wields a mean ping-pong paddle in the mini MWR facility at 42nd Division Support Command headquarters at Forward Operating Base Speicher.

You might say it’s a form of therapy, both for her and those she counsels.

“I used to play with my mother when I was growing up and my mother just passed this last August,” she says. “Something about it reminds me of playing with her. When I first saw the ping-pong table here I thought "I’ve got good memories associated with that."

Word has gotten around that she’s the one to beat when it comes to ping-pong, a reputation she doesn’t discourage.

“We’ll get up there to play and I’ll say, ‘Who’s going to lose today,’” she laughs. “So
they line up waiting to play, and we have fun, and I encourage them and they encourage me, and it really doesn’t matter who wins.”

What does matter is that it is one way for her to get to know her soldiers, and a way for them to get to know her, and to trust her. “The more they trust you the more they open up. I’m much busier now then I was the first month because people trust.”

Soldiers come to her with a number of different issues, but family issues top the list, and they can run the gamut from dealing with a long distance relationship to family finances and other problems.

“When they walk in the door, I say to them anything you say here is in confidence. So they’ll just pour out their soul. I have so many soldiers say ‘I haven’t told anyone what I’m telling you.'"

This forms a unique bond of familiarity between Martindale and her Soldiers.

“I can be in a room and know 25 people’s life history because they’ve come and told me about their family or their difficulties and I’m glad because they are able to
unburden themselves so they are better able to do their mission.”

When she’s not counseling Soldiers or beating them at ping-pong, the 14-year Army veteran is one of three brigade chaplains who oversee the 13 chaplains and 15 chaplain assistants from various units who reside on FOB Speicher.

Never one to stand still, Martindale also travels the base, seeking out soldiers who may not be able to come to her. This also gives her the chance to meet them on their own turf, so she can see first-hand the job that they do while on duty, another way in which she gets to know her Soldiers.

Eventually, conversations will return to ping-pong and a challenge will ensue, which she gladly accepts, because the chaplain knows full well that while it is therapy for the soldiers, it is also stress relief for her as well.

“I was a little nervous to come here myself - a husband, two kids. It’s tough. But I wouldn’t be anywhere else, because I’ve learned so much – not only about myself, but also about Soldiers, about people. I’ve met some amazing people.”