Army Chaplain Matthew Christensen stopped a machete-wielding soldier during a hostage situation. Who says we don't need chaplains?
The violent incident happened back in 2015, but recently Chaplain Matthew Christensen was awarded for his heroic actions. Army Times reported on the event on Tuesday at Fort Benning, Georgia. When Chaplain Matthew Christensen went to counsel a soldier who was having a hard time, he didn’t realize it would escalate into a hostage situation.
Christensen — who was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, at the time of the incident — arrived at the soldier’s home to find him intoxicated and armed with a machete. During Christensen's speech at award ceremony, he spoke of a truth behind the suicidal soldier.
"The soldier that I retrained that night, was abused by his own father. He blamed his mother and grandparents for knowing what was happening and never stepping in to stop the abuse".
“He at first was suicidal but then grew more and more hostile throughout the evening,” Christensen said of the Feb. 28, 2015, night.
Eventually, Christensen said, another chaplain and the soldier’s roommate arrived, and the soldier was talking to some of his family members on speakerphone. After about two hours, the soldier pinned his roommate against the wall with the machete.
“When he went to swing the machete, there weren’t too many other options but to physically jump in and grab and restrain the soldier,” Christensen said.
While Christensen had the soldier under control, the other chaplain kicked away the machete. The heroic was recognized by honoring Capt. Matthew Christensen with a medal, but he humbly credits the holy spirit's intervention and reminded the crowd of the ultimate heroic act of all.
"Chaplains serve both God and country-'Pro Deo et Patria'. I believe that God in the person of Christ Jesus was wiling to meet us in our weakness and most vulnerable condition by providing us with comfort and counseling. He stood in the way of violence by suffering violence in our place. For me this soldier's medal will always be a reminder of the one who voluntarily gave his life in order to save our lives."
Capt. Matthew Christensen, an Army chaplain, thanked his wife also for her support. According to the Soldier’s Medal citation, “Chaplain Christensen had only a moment to react and risked his own life to save the life of another soldier. His efforts made a difference and ultimately saved two soldiers' lives."
Army Times article / TRUNEWS summary.