Philip Willis Jr. receives U.S. Army Order of Titus award
Lake Region—Lake Region Conference pastor Philip Willis Jr. is a recent recipient of the U.S. Army's Order of Titus award. In addition to pastoring two churches in the Lake Region Conference, Willis is a chaplain with the rank of major in the National Guard. He was presented with the Order of Titus award by Douglas Carver, U.S. Army chief of chaplains, on January 5, at Ft. Jackson, S.C.
According to a Nov. 3, 2010, memorandum from the Department of the Army, the "Order of Titus award is the only award presented by the Chief of Chaplains to recognize outstanding performance of ministry by chaplains and chaplain assistants. The Order of Titus is awarded for meritorious contributions to the unique and highly visible Unit Ministry Team Observer Controller Program. The award recognizes the great importance of realistic, doctrinally guided combat ministry training in ensuring the delivery of prevailing religious support to the American Soldier."
The name Titus was chosen for the award because of the "objective content of the verse encouraging 'setting things in order and being of sound doctrine.'" See Titus 1:5, 9, 10–12.
In the past two years, Willis mentored and trained 20 Unit Ministry Teams deploying to various parts of the world. He also taught classes (Ethics, Resiliency, Suicide Awareness, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Battle Mind and Combat Stress) to 1,990 soldiers deploying overseas. He says, "I developed a unique and aggressive style of situational training exercises that prepared chaplains and assistants for the worst case scenario in contingency operations." Willis' techniques and procedures were implemented with other observer controllers division-wide.
Reflecting on the award, Willis shared, "This honor is especially valuable to me because I didn't anticipate the award. I volunteered for the position, because I simply wanted to give young men and women as well as deploying chaplains a realistic truth that would transcend the hardships that they would encounter in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Kuwait and the Horn of Africa. This award confirms that I continued the charge of Titus 'to set in order the things that are lacking,' and to 'speak the things which become sound doctrine' (see Titus 1:5; 2:1). I am grateful for this because it validates my passion for teaching, training and mentoring these past two years."
Diane Thurber, assistant communication director, Lake Union Conference