Military relations leaders tour base in Utah
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The Church's Military Relations Committee on Nov. 4 visited Dugway Proving Ground, which Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy described as an "oasis in the middle of a great western desert."
Included on the tour of the U.S. Army testing facility, 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, were Elder Jensen, committee chairman; Elders Adney Y. Komatsu and Joe J. Christensen of the Seventy; J. Paul Jensen, manager of the Church's Military Relations; retired Col. Kay A. Schwendiman, who served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves; retired Adm. C. Monroe Hart of the U.S. Navy; and Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., director of the Priesthood Department.Elders Jensen, Komatsu and Christensen are assistant executive directors in the Priesthood Department, which oversees Military Relations.
W. Boyd Christensen, director of Church Hosting, explained that this is only the second time the committee has visited a military installation. The first was in 1991 when committee members visited Hill Air Force Base near Clearfield, Utah.
The visit to Dugway came as a result of a luncheon Aug. 7, during which Col. James R. King, the post's commander, was hosted by the Military Relations Committee.
In return, Col. King hosted the tour of Dugway. Among others participating were Lt. Col. Francisco Beltran, the post's chaplain; Samuel G. Liddiard, bishop of the Dugway Ward who works at the miltiary facility; and Brother Christensen and his wife, Jean, who is also a director of Church Hosting.
Elder Jensen said: "The interest in each other [at DugwayT and the care for each other - civilian and military personnel alike - is exceptional. There are wonderful working relationships between LDS members and those of other faiths. Of the 1,496 military and civilian personnel on the post, approximately 70 percent are LDS and are members of the Dugway Ward of the Tooele Utah South Stake.
The visit by members of the Military Relations Committee included a stop at the Dugway LDS meetinghouse, located adjacent to the post. They then went to post headquarters and saw a slide and video show about the installation's facilities. After a luncheon, Col. King led tours to the test area and technology center, and to English Village, where military and civilian personnel live. The committee also stopped by the post chapel.
Elder Jensen said he was impressed by the technology at the post, but was even more impressed with personnel facilities, which include youth services, a community counseling center, a child development center, a community center and a health clinic. The base also includes an elementary school, a junior high and high school, and offers college extension courses.
Meetings between the Church and the military are a priority to the Military Relations Committee, said Elder Jensen. "We hope to tour the various military installations here in Utah and to continue to promote good relations between the Church and the people." - Julie A. Dockstader