Chaplain Speaks Out – Did the Media Blow The Story?
By Harold Hutchison
A chaplain who was awarded the Bronze Star has spoken out about the tour – and what appears to have been misleading media coverage. In an interview with TheBlaze.com, Lt. Col. Jon Trainer, USAF, discussed the award and the PowerPoint presentation that has generated controversy.
The presentation, which was titled, “Proper Handling and Disposal of Islamic Religious Material,” was written in the wake of the accidental burning of defaced Korans by American troops. The resulting riots when the news broke lead to 30 deaths, including two U.S. troops.
Initial coverage of the medal in conservative media outlets lead former Congressman Allen West to post a message from a fellow chaplain on Facebook, “The National Review Online is running an article about CH (LTC) Jon Trainer implying that he received the Bronze Star for creating a PowerPoint presentation. This is false! I served with Jon Trainer in Kabul, Afghanistan and he is one of the finest men and chaplains I have ever worked with in almost 22 years. He received the Bronze Star for his cumulative meritorious service during his overall deployment to the combat zone.”
Trainer told TheBlaze.com, “It was simply informing our troops, ‘You’re in a different culture. They have a different set of values than you do.’”
“We were simply trying to help soldiers identify Islamic religious material and then know how to approach it and…dispose of it,” he explained to the news site founded by talk-show host Glenn Beck. “Our bottom line was — if you encounter any kind of material that you think could be religious material, we [wanted] Afghan mullahs to deal with that material…so that our actions [couldn't] be misinterpreted as being disrespectful of their holy scriptures.”
In one small bit of irony, the chaplain, an evangelical Christian, wrote his thesis for his master’s degree on undermining radical Islam by using various “instruments of power.”