RGC’s Military Ministry: Moral Injury

The Redeeming Grace Church Military Ministry has invited Dr. Marc LiVecche to come and speak on the subject of moral injury.  This is probably an unfamiliar term for many of us, so I recently sat down with two of our members, Brian Auten and Dennis Wischmeier, to talk to them about this event. 

Kenneth Maresco

Kenneth: Brian and Dennis, thank you for taking the time to introduce our members to this Military Ministry event. Brian, can you please explain what this event is and who the target audience is? 

Brian: RGC’s Military Ministry has invited Dr. Marc LiVecche to come and speak on the subject of moral injury. Marc is an old friend, and he wears two research hats — one at the Naval War College, and the other at Providence, a Christian foreign policy journal in DC. Marc’s passion is ethics & warfare — the just war tradition, and, more recently, the ways in which soldiers, contractors, intelligence professionals, and others charged with maintaining public order can have their souls injured or “bruised” in the process. And not just their own souls, but those of their friends and family members too. We’ll be hosting Marc to address the topic of trauma, and we’d love anyone interested in understanding the experience of the men and women who put their lives on the line for our nation to join us. 

Kenneth: Thank you, Brian. Dennis, can you explain a bit more about this and how the idea for this meeting came about? 

Dennis: Within RGC’s Military Ministry, there are members who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, trauma is larger than this and comes in a lot of forms. Firemen make instant life or death decisions, military members are either directly involved in hostilities or are in support, and contractors are everywhere from military support to law enforcement. And we cannot forget spouses and children. Trauma of the national security or law enforcement member is not limited to that person, but spreads to the family. Let me give you a small personal example. In 2004, I was deployed to the Middle East and took part in the retaking of Fallujah, Iraq. However, my rotation meant I could return home right before Thanksgiving. Two days prior to Thanksgiving, I returned to my family, and sat down for the large family gathering with lots of food and family. But as soon as I sat down, I quietly excused myself to a side room, and completely collapsed emotionally. I could not be happier to be home, but the thoughts of those I just left on the battlefield left an open wound that I did not even know existed. It took over a year to begin to understand what happened that day.    

Kenneth: Thank you for sharing such a personal story and for serving our country as you and your fellow soldiers did. Who would benefit from this event Dennis, and why should they come? 

Dennis: I know I am not alone. To enter service as a fireman, member of the FBI, CIA, DIA, or the military, is an amazing calling from Christ. This is where we need to be, but it comes at a cost. The implications, stories, and events that come from these roles need to be talked about. I encourage men and women who have served in any of these roles, or their family members and friends, to consider joining us. Really, anyone who wants to learn about these important realities so they can care for suffering people well. 

Kenneth: When and where is the event? 

Dennis: Friday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at my home. Please RSVP at . If you need childcare, we suggest registering for RGC’s Parents’ Night Out which begins at 6:00 p.m. 

 “People do not understand my job or experience(s).” That is NOT a quote you will hear at this gathering. We do understand. Come fellowship with us.