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Faith Under Fire: An Army Chaplain's Memoir Hardcover – March 24, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An ordained Baptist chaplain, Benimoff spent two tours of duty in Iraq providing spiritual guidance to American soldiers, many of whom were teenagers just starting their one-year deployment. He helps soldiers, thousands of miles from home in a dangerous country, through crises of faith and morality, religion and responsibility; leads prayer and memorial services; consoles and councils the bereaved. His experience takes an unexpected turn, however, when he begins experiencing symptoms he had been trained to spot in recruits and veterans: difficulty adjusting to home ("Iraq had felt like a giant race I hoped to survive... safely back on U.S. soil, I couldn't stop running"), emotional withdrawal from loved ones (his wife, Rebekah, and their sons, Tyler and Blaine), increasing irritability. Most significantly, Benimoff starts questioning his belief in God. Though this religious ambivalence significantly underscores his narrative of life at war and what comes after, Benimoff balances issues of ethics and faith with a gripping military account that should prove insightful for vets, their loved ones and those for whom the war represents a personal and spiritual conflict.
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“In this moving and elegantly written book, Roger Benimoff provides penetrating insights into the human, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of war as well as how combat experiences affect those who fight. Faith Under Fire will be one of the classic memoirs of the Iraq war. It is brilliant.”
—H. R. McMaster, 71st Colonel, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and author of Dereliction of Duty

Faith Under Fire is a highly significant book. I gained more knowledge about the Army chaplaincy while reading it than I had in all my forty years of experience. This is an emotional and challenging book that will grab readers and pull them into Roger’s fight for faith and intellectual honesty.”
—Richard Dayringer, Th.D., chaplain supervisor and author of six books, including The Heart of Pastoral Counseling

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307408817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307408815
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,540,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Koeman on December 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All deployments are unique as are the individuals going through the deployment...both those serving abroad as well as their families left behind. I am a wife of a US Army Chaplain and my husband is currently serving on his 3rd deployment.

I first became aware of Faith Under Fire when I read Rebekah Benimoff's Redbook article which was e-mailed to myself and other chaplain's wives before our husbands deployed. That article helped me to realize the need to not only pray for physical safety for our military, but also their mental stability and health for the things they might possibly face and experience which could potentially result in PTSD.

I recently bought Faith Under Fire to read the rest of the story. Now I wish I could convince everyone to read this book, both military and non-military. Why?

As a military wife I appreciate the book because I gained insight into a high-speed, intense deployment which in turn helped me to better understand what my husband and others might possibly be facing. It is helping me to prepare for his return, and if he returns changed, I now have a framework to understand why and a framework for the healing process.

As an advocate for military family support, I wish everyone would be challenged to read this book. It is an easy read, and it gives such a good perspective on the challenges of deployment and the challenges of the military family. Our society has to be prepared for the after affects of all the deployments our military are facing. Are our churches and communities going to be there for us? Reading this book would certainly be a good start to understanding the military community and a stepping point for great opportunities to support the military community.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this to be a powerful book, clearly bringing to light the price of war on those who must look it in the eye, and therefore, on all of us as human beings. While helping us to experience the darkness, at the same time, it is a testimony to light we carry within as human beings...light which does not let hope, love, courage, service, and faith die in the face of the unthinkable. I thank Chaplain Benimoff and his wife for sharing their very personal story with us. I am sure that their journals were one of the things they were called to do..to become our eyes and ears into an experience that should not be ignored. And for helping us to see the burdens carried by our healers and counselors who are, in the end, human beings like ourselves in need of healing and counseling. Highly recommend.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fabulous book. As prior military and the spouse of an active duty military, it gives that insight that we know all to well. Any family that has a member or friend that will, is, or has deployed - should read this book. It would be a great book for a deployed soldier to read as well.
For those that have no affiliation with the military - this book gives an outstanding view of the true dedication and sacrafices that are made to give you the freedom to sit back and read it.
Very highly recommend. It is an easy to follow, easy to read book that makes me proud of what our American soldiers and their families are willing to do to ensure our freedoms.
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Format: Hardcover
You know that recurring dream or nightmare of a typically childhood incident which terrifies you to this day, often waking you from a sound sleep feeling anxious, scared and upset? Fortunately -- at least for most of us -- we recover quickly from these episodes and fall back asleep or go take on the day. Consider the combat soldier, however. He or she will experience real-life episodes of sheer terror, mayhem, and loss of life or limb, including that of battle buddies. Imagine trying to shake that off, not only to get a good night's sleep, but just to get through the day.

Roger Benimoff has written a written a raw and frank account of his two tours of combat with infantry units in Iraq's Sunni Triangle during 2003 and 2005. Benimoff, now a chaplain at Methodist Hospitals in Dallas, recounts his tours of duty and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he suffered upon returning from his second deployment.

Faith Under Fire is an eye-opening peek into the world of a combat chaplain, where a typical day might include leading morning devotions, running "outside the wire" with Stryker unit, dodging bullets under fire, administering last rights to a dying soldier, and leading a "critical incident stress debrief" of surviving, often guilt-ridden soldiers. Multiply this times a twelve- or fifteen-month deployment where the chaplain- to- soldier ratio is 1:1000 and you gain a full appreciation for the Herculean task involved.

Benimoff's most striking revelation is the near-loss of his faith as a result of his wartime experiences and PTSD. After withdrawing from his wife and two young children and going through the motions as an Army chaplain, Benimoff finally agreed to enter a V.A.
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Format: Hardcover
This book gives an insightful look into the stress of combat. Even people one would consider unlikely can not escape the mental scars it leaves behind. This is an honest account, and the fact that this couple is so willing to share their personal struggle with the public, is remarkable. With all that is happening in the news regarding combat stress and post-combat stress syndrome, we all should read this book to appreciate the level of sacrifice made by all our military in these war zones. Easy to read, appreciated the religious references, but think even non-Christians would find the book interesting.
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