This moving and powerfully honest narrative of a chaplain stationed in Iraq was first published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2008. Now for the first time the series has been collected and expanded, with a new introduction and epilogue by the author.
Darren Turner is a chaplain with the army, deployed to Iraq for the May 2007 surge. During that time, he counseled soldiers who had experienced horrific scenes of warfare, presided over the memorial services of men who fell in combat, and baptized new believers into his flock. After his Iraq tour was over, Chaplain Turner visited injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, where, he says, “the battle for the home front will go on for much longer.” Chaplain Turner’s War is his story, just as much as it is the story of the soldiers who looked to him for spiritual guidance, for comfort, for another shoulder to lean on.
In the many competing popular narratives of the Iraq war, the voices of the men and women who served and suffered for our country so often fall by the wayside. Chaplain Turner’s War is an unflinching look at the stoicism displayed by our soldiers and their families in the face of unspeakable trauma. At its heart, this book serves as a powerful reminder of the human cost of any military action, and of the responsibility we bear to the soldiers who so often fade to the back of public consciousness when they return to us, home but not yet healed.
Moni Basu embedded with Chaplain Turner and his battalion in January 2008, where she collected the stories that make up Chaplain Turner’s War. She writes, “I had been to Iraq six times before embedding with Turner’s battalion. But it was through him and his soldiers that I came to understand the consequences of the Iraq war.” In Chaplain Turner’s War, Basu deftly depicts the emotional weight carried by soldiers in the field, veterans at home, and a man charged with the harrowing responsibility of being a salve to their scarred souls.