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CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea – When asked about spiritual fitness, Soldiers often provide diverse responses, ranging from religious beliefs to simply being a good person. For Army Lt. Col. Charlie Shields, a chaplain with the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, spiritual fitness denotes the capacity to maintain mental strength, particularly during challenging times.

“Spiritual fitness may encompass religion, but it extends beyond that,” said Shields. “I would define spirituality as the internal, unseen aspect that is known to every individual. It’s the intangible element that provides motivation and drive.”

Shields recently served as the guest speaker at a spiritual fitness luncheon held at the 2ID/RUCD headquarters, attended by officers, enlisted personnel, and Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army (KATUSAs). He discussed the meaning of spiritual fitness, its significance, and how Soldiers can leverage it to inspire others.

Chaplains organize events like spiritual fitness luncheons not only to uplift Soldiers morally but also to strengthen their faith and confidence. These events aim to equip leadership with the tools necessary for fostering the growth of their Soldiers.

“A spiritual fitness luncheon is about helping Soldiers understand spirituality,” Shields explained. “It encourages them to question their spiritual fitness and, if they are spiritually fit, how to maintain it. For those who aren’t, it guides them on becoming spiritually fit.”

Shields’s presentation focused extensively on the resilience of the human spirit and how a Soldier’s spiritual strength can serve as inspiration. The core message emphasized how spiritually fit Soldiers can motivate others to strive for their best selves.

“When faced with adversity, the morale of an entire unit can be upheld and strengthened by individuals with a strong sense of resilience,” Shields emphasized.

While spiritual fitness is a personal asset for Soldiers, it also serves as a valuable tool for those around them. When command teams and noncommissioned officers are spiritually resilient, they can inspire subordinates to attain spiritual fitness. Events like spiritual fitness luncheons provide Soldiers with skills and opportunities for spiritual growth, directly benefiting their unit.

One attendee, Army Lt. Col. Albert Lee, the division surgeon for the 2ID/RUCD, felt that the event successfully achieved its goal of teaching spiritual fitness. He now possesses the tools not only to be spiritually fit but also to impart the skills necessary for resilience to his subordinates.

“I feel better equipped,” said Lee. “Focusing on being proud of what we do and who we are will undoubtedly boost our motivation.”

In the spirit of fostering a resilient and spiritually fit military community, the 2nd Infantry Division, Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Division (2ID/RUCD) remains committed to its mission: to enhance the readiness, cohesion, and well-being of its Soldiers, fostering a culture of strength, resilience, and inspiration in the face of challenges. Together, as a united force, the 2ID/RUCD continues to strive for excellence, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in service to their nation and each other.

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