Supreme Knight personally presents Charter to New Military Council at Fort Campbell
On May 31, 2014, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson led a delegation from the Supreme Council to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to present the charter to the newly established military council there. Fort Campbell is a U.S. Army Base which straddles the state line between Kentucky and Tennessee. It is the home of the 101st Airborne Division, “the Screaming Eagles.” Joining the supreme knight were Supreme Master Dennis Stoddard, Supreme Director Michael Wills from Tennessee, Chief Compliance Officer Bill Brown and Assistant for Military and Veterans Affairs Col. Chuck Gallina.
A Mass with council members was celebrated on post in the Soldiers Chapel, home of the Catholic Chaplaincy, by Father Grant Gaskin, Charter Council Chaplain, at whose request the council was formed.
At the conclusion of Mass, the supreme knight addressed those assembled, reflecting on the ways those who serve in the military help build a civilization of love. “If we understand that the great commandment of love of neighbor is foundational to the Christian life,” he said, “and if we are to understand this vocation to love is represented at its highest point by the one who is willing to lay down his life for another, then who better than a soldier to understand the sacrifices necessary for building a civilization of love?”
Council 15914 is named for Father Francis L. Sampson, a renowned military chaplain who served in three wars, eventually attaining the rank of major general. As a chaplain in the elite airborne division, Chaplain Sampson was trained as a parachutist and saw continuous action during World War II. He was among the Allied troops who landed at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and was held twice by the Germans as a prisoner of war. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award, for his heroic actions in World War II.
Chaplain Sampson served during the Korean conflict and was an instructor at the Army’s chaplaincy school. During the Vietnam War, he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Chaplains in 1966 and the following year was made the Army’s Chief of Chaplains. Father Sampson died in 1996. A member of the Knights of Columbus for 55 years, he belonged to Big Sioux Council 5029 in Flandreau, South Dakota.
Concluding his remarks, the supreme knight called the members of the new council to conduct themselves “in such a fashion that Father Sampson’s words may always ring true — that America’s military will always embody ‘the highest ideals of any man’ and that, like Father Sampson, America’s Catholic warriors will always provide its proudest examples.”
After his remarks, the supreme knight presented the charter to the council’s founding Grand Knight, Anthony Carmona, alongside District Deputy Joseph Schmitt. Grand Knight Carmona is a 23-year Army veteran who works for the government in support of the Army at Fort Campbell.
A fraternal dinner followed with Military Knights and their wives. Col. Chuck Gallina spoke to those assembled about the Order’s support for the military, including the new initiative of bringing wounded military personnel to Lourdes for the annual International Military Pilgrimage, and the Supreme Council-sponsored distribution of Armed with the Faith. A fifth edition of Armed with the Faith was published last month. Since the Iraq War, more than 600,000 copies of this handbook of Catholic prayers and catechesis have been provided free to active-duty Catholics.
The Order now has more than 60 military councils at U.S. military bases around the world.