Fort Leonard Wood’s new Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Garrison Family Life chaplain has his boots on the ground and is ready to serve the installation’s community.
Chaplain (Maj.) Miller “Ike” Eichelberger, a Louisville, Mississippi, native, husband, and father of three, has been here a little more than a month now and said he is enjoying getting to know the community.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to come to this place,” Eichelberger said. “My wife calls it ‘beautiful woods,’ and I am so grateful to be here.”
A recent graduate of the Chaplain Family Life Training Center, Eichelberger also holds a general studies degree with concentrations in psychology and religion from William Carey University; a master of divinity degree in leadership from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a master of science degree in marriage and family therapy from Texas A&M University Central Texas. Eichelberger also recently graduated from Command General Staff College at Fort Belvoir Virginia.
Eichelberger served as an active -duty infantry Soldier for six years and spent 10 years in the Army National Guard.
“I have a theological degree along with marriage and family therapy,” Eichelberger said. With both degrees, he said he is able to provide counseling services from both a Christian and secular perspective.
“I am able to counsel someone from a Christian perspective without forcing Christianity on them. It’s open to anyone. Anything from divorce to grief… There are a number of things I am equipped to be able to walk people through over the long-term,” he said.
Eichelberger said all chaplains on post are equipped to provide counseling services, but he serves as the subject-matter expert for the installation chaplains and also provides spiritual support to them.
“(I) train them and teach them some of the techniques I have learned to give (the chaplains) tools in their toolkits to be better counselors,” Eichelberger said.
“I am like a pastor to a pastor. If they are having issues, they can come talk to me and it’s totally confidential,” he said.
Eichelberger said he is open to support anyone with a family or military ID or a Department of Defense civilian.
“I want to let folks know we are here to help. Our goal is to be able to help people live their life better,” Eichelberger said.
Eventually, Eichelberger would like to work with Religious Support Office leaders to create a Family Life Center on Fort Leonard Wood with a goal of enhancing services for military families.
Chaplain (Col.) David Bowlus, MSCoE Garrison chaplain, said Eichelberger will be an asset to the installation.
“Chaplain Ike brings a wealth of experience with him,” Bowlus said. “As a former brigade chaplain, a recent U.S. Chaplain Family Life Training Center graduate, a dedicated husband and father, and a superb officer, he brings a wealth of spiritual leadership.”
Aside from serving as Family Life chaplain, Eichelberger also serves as pastor of the Gospel Service that meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at the Central Iowa Chapel. Helping provide this service is something he is particularly proud of.
“It’s a very important service,” Eichelberger said. “The gospel service has a long history. “African American people wanted a service that met their cultural needs, the styles of worship. The whole experience is so wonderful and it’s so rich. Everyone is welcome,” he said.
When Eichelberger is not serving others, he said he enjoys his family, eating, cooking and working out.
“I love to lift weights and run, and ruck and just walk,” Eichelberger said. “And of course, with the eating there is cooking. I love to cook.”
Eichelberger said overall, he is just happy to be part of the team of teams at Fort Leonard Wood.
“I am available and I am going to be out in the community. I am always available for folks to come in, and we can walk through whatever issues they may be facing,” he said.
Eichelberger’s office is located at the Religious Support Office, Building 340, 12130 3rd Street, Room 114.