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NEWS | Aug. 5, 2022

Army Chaplain Preaches the Gospel of the Soldier Recovery Units

By MaryTherese Griffin Army

ARLINGTON, Va, - Call him Father, Chaplain, or Captain… Phillip Tah has many titles but one mission. “I found a career that was meant for me which is to take care of people. This was a choice I made to care for wounded, and sick people,” said the Catholic Priest of twenty-six years, now serving as a Chaplain assigned to the Fort Drum Soldier Recover Unit in Upstate New York.

The Nigerian born Tah came to the U.S. as a priest in 2004 and had invitation after invitation to consider becoming a Chaplain for the military. [Yet] “Some years later I saw another invitation waiting for me from the Army and I thought, what if God is trying to tell me something?” He joined in 2015. Tah spent a year in the Army Reserve and eventually became Active Duty to devote his time full time to helping Soldiers and the SRU was more than the perfect place for him.

“When you want to get back to doing the things you love to do, the SRU is the best place because our focus is you. Your recovery, your return to duty or whatever else is in store that you want to do with your life - that’s what we do.”

The Army Recovery Care Program has six pillars in their Comprehensive recovery plan that include Career, Physical, Social, Spiritual, Emotional and Family.

“Often times people tend to over emphasize the physical as if the physical is totally disconnected from the mental, from the emotional and from the spiritual and that’s not true,” says Tah who wants to make sure Soldiers understand the Army is treating the whole Soldier through the SRU’s.

“I want Soldiers to realize that healing starts from your mind. Healing starts from what the mind is thinking and believing. When I have Soldiers in front of me, I want to find out from them how they think about what happened to them. I want them to share what happened and then tell me what they think about it.”

He usually sees that Soldiers don’t want to be in an SRU, they want to be with their unit. “I say to them, what if I tell you, you are in the best place you could ever be, right now? That always shocks every one of them and they do change the way they look at the SRU.”

He also makes it a daily habit to talk with Soldiers and makes no bones about the fact that he doesn’t wait for them to come to him. “I don’t wait for people to come to me, I seek them out. My personal rule is I must engage at least ten Soldiers every day. I engage the cadre as well. We share words and ideas. That makes it easy for people to approach me because I do it first,” says the good Captain.

Father, Chaplain, Captain Tah is conducting his beloved mission knowing that there is uncertainty at every corner but offers solid words of encouragement. “When you face a moment that you cannot make sense of, just be the best you can be. That may be the moment God gave to you to do the most you could ever do.”