Often the NCO can do very well at solving their troops problems, but so often they can't fix their own...but that's another story for later. The NCO's duty was to make sure his or her troops could function and do their jobs. In places like Iraq, this was life or death on convoys, raids and other missions. If a "Joe" or a "Jane" was totally distracted thinking about problems thousands of miles away, they wouldn't be worth a shit on the gun or behind the wheel of an Up Armored M1114 Humvee.
I guess word of my "skills" at helping solve soldier's problems spread around our little camp in Baghdad. I would often have soldiers who I barely knew come up and tell me their problems. A few times, I would diplomatically ask if they had talked to the real chaplain we had with us. But they said he was usually useless. I suspect that (at that time) my 20+ years of being a civilian cop gave me good training and experience... maybe more usful than going to some Bible college for several years.
I guess that’s the reason they would stick guys on my team who had expressed thoughts of suicide and other problems associated with combat stress. I felt if somebody felt like killing themselves, put them on a gun truck as a gunner and let them kill some asshole insurgent. My ideas in this regard often went ignored. Go figure.
This is leading up to my words of wisdom on the matters of the heart.
To be cont.