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Photo by Navy Lt. Matthew S. Weems

3/4's CO visited by family friend, MNCI Chaplain

2 Jun 2005 | Lance Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr.

Visits from a chaplain are positive encounters for Marines in the field, but it’s even better when the chaplain is a friend of the family. Army Col. Donald L. Rutherford, the chaplain for the Multi-National Corps Iraq, traveled here, June 2, to get “eyes on” the contributions of the Chaplain Corps with an infantry battalion and catch up with the battalion commander, Lt. Col Andrew R. Kennedy. “He came to get a good picture of what we do out here,” said Navy Lt. Matthew S. Weems, 34-year-old chaplain for 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, Regimental Combat Team-8. “Just seeing how we do business.” During his tour, Rutherford was introduced to the battalion staff and discussed support issues with Weems, but the largest portion of the two-hour visit was spent in Kennedy’s office. “It was incredible to see someone who knows your family, to talk about the past and update them on how everyone is doing,” said Kennedy, a native of Mt. Vision, N.Y. Rutherford was a parish priest at the church and local Catholic school where Kennedy’s family lives in Oneonta. Although Rutherford came to the area shortly after Kennedy’s departure for the Marine Corps, he became a regular figure in the lives of Kennedy’s younger siblings. “He knows all of my younger brothers and sisters,” Kennedy said. “He’s definitely a good friend of the family.” After nearly 45 minutes of “catching up” and viewing the latest family photos, Rutherford picked up to move on to the next unit in his extensive tour. The visit, although short, had a positive impact on both the commander and the chaplain. “It makes us feel good when higher comes by to see what were doing,” said Weems, a native of Kingfisher, Okla., “We really appreciated it.” Kennedy’s battalion is looking toward the end of their third tour in Iraq, but the commander hopes to see his old friend again before they leave. “He has a lot of battalions to look at, but we hope to get back together,” Kennedy said.