The U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton has two new members — and soldiers say they’re heaven sent.
Chap. (Maj.) Jamison Bowman and Staff Sgt. Faheem Blount, chaplain and noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of religious services at the post, arrived practically back-to-back, and said they are prepared to mix things up a little — in a good way, that is.
“Though my job as a minister doesn’t change, the entire demographic dynamic changes here,” Bowman said. “Despite Fort Hamilton’s size, its uniqueness also includes being the largest joint installation I’ve been a part of. You don’t have to understand the big picture where it’s not only active duty here, but there are National Guard and Reserve, veterans, retirees, and a very large civilian population here as well.”
A chaplain since 2004, Bowman was a pastor in Memphis for about five years before joining the Army and becoming a chaplain. He was the gospel service chaplain at Fort Carson Colo., and then went to Fort Benning, Ga., and worked with the contemporary service there before being deployed to Iraq in 2009. After that, he was stationed in Japan as the gospel chaplain for almost two years, then on to the Training and Doctrine Command until he was assigned to Fort Hamilton.
“For the very first time in my military career, I live very close to where I pastor,” he said. “Compared to Fort Carson and other posts where the communities are much larger, here, I live where my flock is and I can walk to work and around the whole post and see and greet parishioners that I usually see on Sundays.”
Bowman said this is a unique assignment in many ways. Though he was familiar with garrisons throughout his career while with armor, artillery, signal, and training units, this is the first time he’s actually been assigned to a garrison where he’s learning more about the administrative aspect of it.
Bowman’s right-hand man is also new to the garrison. Enlisting a mere seven years ago this past September, Blount sought the advice and support of his then girlfriend, and now wife, Kendra, about choosing between becoming a chaplain assistant or a broadcast journalist.
“She said, ‘Ask the man upstairs,’ and I chose chaplain assistant,” he said.
Blount was about 10 years older than the average basic training soldier. At 28, he was able to help influence and motivate younger soldiers in their paths to successful graduations, which only served as a caveat to his duties as chaplain assistant.
“Because I am a chaplain assistant, I want to project a standard,” he said. “Soldiers tend to look at me differently, so when they see that I’m squared away and trying to set the example, it allows me to mentor them and help them succeed over their short-comings.”
Blount arrived at Fort Hamilton after a three-year stint each in Schweinfurt and Landstuhl, Germany. He initially applied to participate in the Active, Guard, and Reserve Program, but instead reenlisted for Fort Hamilton, which is home for the Bronx native.
Achieving the rank of staff sergeant sooner than seven years is rare for most military occupational specialties.Reach reporter Joanna DelBuono at jdelbuono@