Rev. Peter Hofman, class of 2002, a U.S. Army chaplain with the rank of captain, recently earned a Special Forces tab. Together with his previously earned Ranger tab, Hofman is the only chaplain in the history of the U.S. Army to earn both Ranger and Special Forces tabs. Special Forces soldiers, also referred to as the legendary Green Berets, are an elite, multipurpose force for high priority operational targets of strategic importance. They undertake missions ranging from counterterrorism to unconventional warfare, while also seeing deployment to foreign regions to take part in humanitarian efforts.
The Special Forces qualification course consists of stress and aptitude tests, land navigation courses, studies on language and culture, and intensive survival and evasion training. On their website, the Army summarizes who the Special Forces are with a simple phrase—The toughest missions. The best-trained soldiers. “During training there were things outside your control, such as instructors, teammates, personality conflicts, weather and terrain,” said Hofman. “During this time my Reformed faith was paramount. I could trust in a sovereign God. I know it’s out of my control, but He is in control.”
Hofman said that establishing credibility among soldiers is what motivated him to earn his Special Forces tab. “In order to build effective rapport with a group of people, you need to study their culture, environment, history, and understand what motivates them. In those terms the military is its own culture. I am ministering in this context,” he said. Having these tabs has allowed Hofman to become a vehicle for the gospel to others in the military. “The type of men I am around judge a book by its cover. The way they do this is by your uniform. With the Ranger and Special Forces tabs, I enter their brotherhood,” he explained. “When they need someone to turn to, they can say, ‘This guy understands me.’”
Hofman’s home and calling church is First Christian Reformed Church of Waupun, Wisconsin. Peter and Kristi (Kroeze), class of 2003, and their six children currently reside in Hope Mills, North Carolina.