Story and photo by Spc. Iesha Howard
21st Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
He raises his hand to pray. As he speaks, his words ring of peace and serenity and his voice ebbs and flows with grace and humility, gaining the attention of his listeners. You would never know this man of humble character is a former infantry officer who earned a Ranger Tab, the Expert Infantryman Badge and Master Parachutist Airborne wings.
Chaplain (Col.) Marc S. Gauthier, command chaplain for the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, has an interesting military career and history that led him to serve as a chaplain.
Gauthier, originally from Tacoma, Wash., was first inspired to serve in the U.S. Army by his grandfather. His grandfather’s description of war and seeing his many awards were the impetus for Gauthier to serve. He felt a calling to serve his country in the military.
“I was always fascinated with the military,” Gauthier said. “I joined the Army Reserves when I was in college and I really enjoyed it.”
It was after completing Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training that Gauthier first felt the touch of a higher power. He felt a calling from God to serve and spread the Gospel. Prior to this point, he had never felt any connection with religion or faith. Immediately after AIT, he became a Christian.
“When I came to faith in Christ, it was a radical turn for me,” Gauthier said. “Up until that moment, I really thought that God, church and religion were just for chumps and losers.”
Gauthier was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1985 and after graduating from the infantry office basic course he went to Ranger School. There, he endured eight weeks of intense, grueling training and earned his Ranger Tab. After Ranger School, Gauthier’s next assignment was as an infantry rifle platoon leader. As a rifle platoon leader, Gauthier earned his Expert Infantryman Badge. The badge is considered the hallmark of an infantryman’s career. During his early years as an infantry officer, someone recommended he serve as a chaplain.
“I spent about two years as an infantry officer before I decided I wanted to be a chaplain,” Gauthier said. “I believe my time as an infantry officer helps me relate to the Soldiers I counsel. I think they trust someone who has done what they have, had the sore feet, the blisters and experienced the long nights away from home.”
Today, this command chaplain conducts services at the Daenner Chapel as the Pastor of Chapel Next and offers counsel to the entire “First in Support” command. Those who attend his services find them relevant and inspirational.
“I think he delivers a message in a way that reaches Soldiers more easily,” said Maj. Ron Walck, a 21st TSC officer who regularly attends Gauthier’s services.
Gauthier’s sincerity and care for Soldiers and families is admired and appreciated by those he counsels and ministers to. His Ranger Tab and Expert Infantryman Badge make him someone relatable and respected by all Soldiers, said Spc. Milton Bunch, a transportation specialist assigned to the 21st TSC.
“As a Soldier, I would feel completely comfortable to go and talk to him about anything,” Bunch said. “He is approachable, sincere and an all-around good person.”
Gauthier brings one key piece of advice to other chaplains and their mission.
“If you wanted to sum up what a chaplain ought to do or what his mission should be, it is to bring people closer to a relationship with God,” he said.