Photo Information

CAMP RIPPER, AL ASAD, Iraq (August 13, 2005)- Spc. Aaron N. Leva, 26, from Houston and an engineer with Company A, 463rd Engineer Battalion cuts wood to be placed on the new camp chapel. The chapel is being built to allow more people from outside the camp and overall more people attend church services. The construction is expected to be complete by next month. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel (RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

Keeping the faith at Ripper, new church to be built

13 Aug 2005 | Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

As they reminisce about home, Marines, soldiers, sailors and civilian contractors with Regimental Combat Team-2 (RCT-2) decided it was time to keep the faith and build an improved house of worship.

The old chapel, located in a small room in a building near the combat operation center can accommodate up to 50 people, but according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Rory D. Goodrick, a religious program specialist with RCT-2, the new chapel will be able to hold at least 30 more people.

“It will be about six feet longer and 10 feet wider, so we will be able to have more people attend services,” explained the Newport, N.C., native.

Goodrick explained that having a new chapel is not only important for religious services, but for the morale of service members and civilian supporters during their yearlong deployment.

“It’s a place where they can go 24 hours a day to pray or meditate,” said Goodrick.  “We want it to be as comfortable as possible and everybody is invited.  We want as many people to come as we can get,” said the 1998 graduate of West Carteret High School, Morehead City, N.C.

The new two-story church, being constructed by army combat engineers with soldiers of the 463rd Combat Engineers Battalion and RCT-2 combat logistic Marines, will have an air-conditioning unit and complete surround sound making it more comfortable for the chapel’s Sunday Protestant and Catholic service and daily bible studies.

The old chapel will continue to be used as a lounge, library and movie room for the Marines of RCT-2.  The RCT is also constructing the church so anyone from Al Asad can easily get there.

“The old chapel was located too far into the RCT’s camp for anyone outside of the RCT to get to it, so this new church being so close to the edge of camp will allow more people from outside the camp to come pray,” Goodrick said.

The chapel is not just for service members and civilians stationed at Al Asad.
“We want the Marines who have been out there in the fight to be able to come to a nice place to worship as they begin to head back to the states,” he explained.
The new church is expected to take a few weeks to complete, but should be ready for services by next month.