MG (R) Thomas "Chaplain" Solhjem

Season 2 | Episode 2
2h 11m | Jan 20, 2024

About the Guest(s):

Major General (Ret.) Thomas Solhjem joined the US Army in 1974 and served a distinguished career that spanned nearly five decades. He began as a combat engineer and transitioned into the reserves, where he simultaneously served as a pastor. Major General Solhjem's dedicated service continued as he returned to active duty, fulfilling roles in the 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Forces Command (FORSCOM), and eventually as the Deputy Chief of Chaplains. His commendable tenure concluded in the esteemed position of the 25th Chief of Chaplains for the United States Army, culminating in a remarkable 49 years of service and a total of 68 months deployed to combat zones.

Episode Summary:

In an episode infused with heartfelt recollections and the wisdom of a storied military career, Major General (Ret.) Thomas Solhjem shares his transformative journey from a troubled youth to a respected chaplain within the US Army. The narrative unfolds with candid anecdotes that provide a rare and intimate glimpse into the life of a man whose dedication and service to his country are matched only by his commitment to faith and the welfare of his fellow soldiers.

Central to the episode is Major General Solhjem's evolution within the Army, influenced by key individuals who saw potential in him and granted opportunities that shaped not only his career but also his character. The episode delves into the creation of the "Preservation of the Force and Families" initiative, a testament to his ability to recognize needs within the military and act decisively to address them. This narrative thread is woven with personal challenges, reflections on leadership, and the responsibility that comes with being a part of the elite Ranger community.

Key Takeaways:

  • Major General Solhjem's career was profoundly influenced by the leaders and mentors who invested in him, recognizing his potential and steering him towards serving as an Army chaplain.
  • His deep contemplation of personal responsibility and the significance of positive transformation illuminates the Ranger Creed and its enduring impact on those who serve.
  • The episode highlights the inception and development of the Preservation of the Force and Families initiative, showcasing how listening and responding to the concerns of military families can lead to substantial, organization-wide improvements.
  • Through stories from his service, Major General Solhjem provides a compelling argument for the importance of humility, empathy, and continued growth beyond one's military career.
  • Perspectives on life after retirement suggest a steadfast excitement for the future, rooted in past experiences and relationships formed during service.

Notable Quotes:

  1. "I'm just a beggar who found some food... If there's anything in this, all of this is just recognizing [and seizing] an opportunity to make a difference when it presented itself."
  2. "I received so much from the regiment; now it's my opportunity to really give back."
  3. "You're either a product of your experiences or you take those experiences and produce something... I've been given so much. I have a tremendous opportunity to give back."
  4. "If it doesn't cost you something, it's not worth having."
  5. "Life's got a lot of opportunities out there and you just need to get off your butt and go find them because they're out there."


  • Major General Thomas Solhjem shared insights from his career and particularly highlighted the Ranger Creed and his experiences in shaping the Preservation of the Force and Families initiative. While specific URLs or social media handles were not provided, interested individuals can explore the principles of the Ranger Creed and learn more about the SOCOM's initiatives for military families through their official resources.

Listen to the full episode to delve deeper into the remarkable accounts and lessons shared by Major General Thomas Solhjem, and stay tuned for upcoming episodes that promise to enrich your understanding of leadership, duty, and the resilience of the human spirit.

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