Preparing for CHBOLC: Separation and Packing

The date is rapidly approaching when I will depart for three months of Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course. I am, for the most part, looking forward to the training. In my opinion, this is the best summer job a seminary student could ask for. I will be getting paid better than about anything I could find locally, I get to be with soldiers (which is something I love), and I get to go to a place I have never been before.

The only real downside for me is the three long months I have to be away from my wife. There are some people who go their entire married life without being away from each other for a sustained period of three months. We are going to try and use this as practice for when I get deployed in the future. For example, I typically manage the finances in our house. While I am gone, we are going to try and do it jointly so that my wife can learn how to do it. This will be very helpful because when I do deploy, she will know how to manage all of our finances. It will also be good because we will have to learn how to communicate indirectly. We plan on getting webcams so that we can do video chat and will be using email a lot. Those will probably be the options that are most available to use in the event of a deployment.

I have also started thinking through packing. I have been in the military for some time, so I tend to err on the side of caution and pack everything I can think of to be prepared. When I was in OCS, it taught me the importance of preparedness and that filtered down into packing lists. I know that all my field gear will be provided to me, but there are a number of things that experience says I will need. For example: duct tape, electrical tape, 550 cord, velcro boot blousers, a good flashlight, a Leatherman, very good insect repellent, something to treat bug bites, plastic bags in various sizes, garbage bags, pens and pencils, etc. Fortunately, I have a lot of this stuff already and what I don’t have I can get on site.

As CHBOLC gets closer, I hope to have another post or two about my preparations. Also, I will be blogging regularly while I am there. The goal of the blogging will be to provide friends, family, and those considering the Chaplaincy a look at what goes on in the training process. I recently bought a new digital camera that is small enough to take with me out in the field, so I plan on taking a lot of pictures and posting them along with the blog posts. So check back regularly if you are interested in the Chaplaincy as there will soon be a lot more posts related to that then there have been in the past.


8 thoughts on “Preparing for CHBOLC: Separation and Packing

  1. Caleb:

    it appears that you and I will be going through CHBOLC together for all 3 months. I see that you are married and in am I :). Do you have any children? My wife and I have newborn (8 weeks old on friday) who I am not looking forward to leaving (in addition to my wife) for 3 months. Its good to know that there is someone else out there that I can relate to. I look forward to meeting you soon.

    Out of curiousity, what day are you getting there? If you are arriving on the 7th, maybe we could grab some grub. Feel free to email me! I would also be happy to give you my ph# if interested.



  2. Caleb,

    I am an active duty army chaplain and fellow SWBTS grad. I finished CHOBC (as it was called then) in APR 06 and just got back from Iraq after 15 months in December. I am in an AH64 apache unit in 1st Air Cav Bde, 1st Cav. Cool blog. I wish I had done a blog when I was in Iraq, but I guess it’s never too late to start one. Do you have follow-on orders yet, or do you have more school to go? CHOBC was one of the best times of my life. Seven guys from my class went to Hood with me and 6 of us were on the same FOB. It was great to spend that time with close brothers in Christ. Have fun at CHOBC, just thought I’d say hey to another SWBTS dude.

    Ben Clark

  3. Caleb,

    I hope the preparation is going well! I am a fellow SWBTS student and chaplain candidate. I will be attending the offset course (CIMT and Phase I only), which begins on 13 July. I’m guessing you will still be there at that time.

    If you have time after you arrival, and could send me or anyone else for that matter any words of advice before heading out to FT. Jackson, I know that I would deeply appreciate.

    I will be praying for you!

  4. I was very interested to read your blog. I am a CC as well and will be attending phase 1 and CIMT starting on June 8th. I am a new student at the seminary at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. I am not prior service, but I got my commission through ROTC and did 4 yrs at a senior military college. I was laughing about packign, because I am currently having the same problem, bringing everythign I can think of and wonderign if I shoudl buy somethings now or wait till I get to Ft. Jackson. I am wonderign what the field training will be liek and remembering my ROTC days. Anyway maybe I will see you there. God is good and I am looking forward to this opportunity very much.


  5. Hi,

    Thank you so much for making these posts. I’m going to be starting my paperwork for the Chaplain Candidate Program soon and it’s nice to be able to read up about what I’ll be going through ahead of time. The female chaplain candidate you mentioned in a prior blog, do you know if she was endorsed by the SBC? Feel free to email me about it. I’m just curious since I’m a Southern Baptist and having difficulty with getting endorsed because I’m a female.

    Thank you!

    1. In the last few months I’ve purchased two new pairs of boots to go with the redesigned ACUs. The Rocky’s for field and heavy duty work. The Belleville’s for garrison.

      Rocky Men’s S2V Tactical Military Work Boots, Brown Leather, 11 M

      Belleville 115 Tactical Research Mini-Mil Transition Athletic Brown Boot, 10.5

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