You don’t know what you don’t know about the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps

joint BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – I am choosing to write about some of the lesser-known aspects of the chaplain corps, things that seasoned chaplains and religious affairs specialists ( chaplain assistants ) are closely companion with, but seem to escape the cognition and experience of the Soldiers we work with on a daily footing .
The U.S. Army Chaplain Corps has a rich people history that begins with the Continental Congress giving chaplains official recognition on July 29, 1775, adding chaplains to the ranks a month after the creation of the Army itself and about a class before the parentage of our nation in 1776. Since then chaplains have been involved in every crusade that the U.S. Army has fought. The corps has grown and changed much throughout the years. One of the biggest changes was the introduction of an “ official ” chaplain adjunct on Dec. 28, 1909. however, Soldiers had been helping and assisting chaplains with their many duties and the conduct of idolize services before this meter. many of these Soldiers and noncommissioned officers were those with either a musical ability or a certain proclivity for religion. The chaplain corporation continued to evolve from those early days into what you see today, with chaplains and chaplain assistants serving at every staff-level from battalion to the Department of the Army .
now that we got a brief history of the corporation out of the way, we can start focusing on some of the lesser-known facts about the chaplain corps. In holy order to make it a little easier to follow, I ‘ll break it down into things about chaplains, things about chaplain assistants, and things about both .

Chaplains are unique officers within their units, right away in their careers they are assigned to a battalion staff and many times receive the social station of captain either upon introduction into active duty or curtly thereafter. The reason for this is the education required for them to serve as chaplains. Every chaplain must have a Master ‘s of Divinity degree and have an ecclesiastical sanction by a religious group. What this means is that before chaplains are allowed on active duty they must first be educated, trained, and recognized as a religious leader for some type of church or faith group. different groups have different requirements for endorsing a chaplain, some require a certain come of experience working in a civilian set before granting the sanction. This means that very frequently the chaplain is the oldest and most educated officeholder in the battalion, but not inevitably the most experienced in military matters .
Another aspect that sets chaplains apart is that they will never be commanders. They do hold rank and the agency granted by that rate, but they will never have command assurance. This goes back to the separation of church and express and is specified in Title X of the U.S. Code. The highest rank chaplain is a major general, but even wearing two stars does not give him the agency to authorize leave or impose UCMJ. That leads me into another point, the proper entitle for any chaplain careless of rank is “ chaplain ”. not captain, major, colonel, or general, just chaplain. If written it is reflected as CH followed by the rank in parenthesis. For example, if the chaplain ‘s crying is colonel, it is written CH ( Col. ) .
The last one that I will touch on in regards to chaplains is their non-combatant status. Most already know that chaplains do not carry weapons, even so, you would be amazed at how many times in my career I have been told “ make sure the chaplain is at the range, we do n’t have a reservation on him ”. The chaplain ‘s non-combatant condition is not equitable relegated to firing a weapon, chaplains are not allowed to direct fight operations. What that means is that a chaplain is not allowed to order Soldiers to attack an objective or lead defensive operations, even if they are the only remaining accredited officer .
chaplain Assistants

Like our officer counterparts, chaplain assistants are besides quite misunderstood within the greater engage structure. The name itself “ chaplain assistant ” feeds quite well into the misinterpretation, which is why it is in the summons of being changed to Religious Affairs Specialist. I say that the name is in the process of changing because although the name has been updated in AR 165-1 ( Army Chaplain Corps Activities ), other regulations and doctrine need to be updated before the change can fully take place. For the purpose of this article, I will continue using our ambiguous, but recognizable mention of chaplain assistant .
I think the best room for me to explain some of the qualities that make the chaplain assistant unique is to dispel some of the more prevailing myths. First off, we are not the chaplain ‘s body guard. I know that may bruise the self of some of my more insecure colleagues, but it is true. To be more accurate, we coordinate security for the team, which does include the chaplain assistant, but in most situations is not entirely the chaplain adjunct. following comes one of my darling misconceptions – we are the chaplain ‘s secretary or aide. not true. I can honestly say that in my sixteen years as a chaplain assistant I have never managed the agenda or calendar for a chaplain. It is true that a set of the prison term chaplain assistants will draft memorandums, standard operating procedures, and the section ‘s input into military orders, but that does not make the chaplain adjunct any more of a secretary than a platoon sergeant is. The last myth that I will mention is that chaplain assistants are “ assistant chaplains ”. This one is simply not true. Sure, some chaplain assistants aspire to become a chaplain, but the truth is that the Soldiers who make up the enlist dowry of the chaplain corps join for a huge kind of reasons and there is no prerequisite for the chaplain assistant to have any specific religious trail or belief .
Since I think I have successfully dispelled some of the myths surrounding the chaplain adjunct, it is time to answer the motion I have been asked more times, than I can count – “ What do you do ? ” My reply to this interrogate is normally something along the lines of “ a little moment of everything, and a whole batch of nothing ”, a amusing but not wholly untrue statement. Chaplain assistants wangle every view of what makes religious documentation work in a unit of measurement and in a garrison. chaplain assistants are slightly of a jack-of-all-trades. We manage equipment and facilities, we account for all the fiscal intakes and expenditures of a chapel service community, and we manage personnel. chaplain assistants are the merely Soldiers who starts their career as a battalion staff section noncommissioned officer in charge ( NCOIC ). You read that right, the brand new chaplain adjunct in your battalion with the rank of secret is the bona fide section NCOIC. As we go up in the ranks our responsibilities, adenine well as our sphere of influence, expand exponentially. At the brigade-level, our chief function is the train and management of the battalion unit of measurement ministry teams. Notice I did not say equitable battalion chaplain assistants. however, the primary occupation of a chaplain assistant is reflected in the new name of religious affairs specialist. You see, religious affairs is a Joint-term that can be amply explained in Joint Publication 1-05. religious affairs specialists analyze the multiple aspects of religion and their effect on military operations. We do still assist the chaplain with religious digest to the unit of measurement. I could go on about all the little nuances and responsibilities of a chaplain assistant, but for the sake of the article I think I will leave things here .
The Chaplain section
The chaplain part is normally known as the unit ministry team or UMT. This appointment is only accurate at the brigade and battalion flat, at levels above brigade it is known as the chaplain department. One of the unique things about the chaplain section is the structure. The beginning assignment on active duty for both chaplains and chaplain assistants is at the battalion level, which places two inexperienced people together and tells them to make it work. Most commissioned officers are paired up with senior NCOs early on on in their careers, which allows them to learn and be mentored by an know NCO, but that trade name modern chaplain ( captain ) has a private as his or her teammate to learn with, and lead.

The chaplain segment is a full-fledged staff section that is not subordinate to any early staff section and is creditworthy for and required to produce their own fortune of unit operation orders, tactical and garrison standard operate procedures, and to participate in assorted meetings and working groups along with the staff. A lot of times this fails to happen for a overplus of reasons. sometimes the argue is driven by a commander who wants his chaplain to “ go see the troops ” or an executive officer who does not think that the UMT has anything apposite to add. It can besides be caused by a UMT who is ineffective to efficaciously balance their religious deliberation and religious back roles. personally, I think it is because they and their command teams merely do not realize what their true capabilities are .
hopefully this article has enlightened you slightly to what precisely chaplains and chaplain assistants do. This article was never meant to be across-the-board of the duties and responsibilities inherent in our roles within the unit. If nothing else I hope you now have a better reason of who we are and I encourage you to go ahead and talk to your chaplain segment to find out more. As I close this article I want to leave you with one more “ did you know ”, this is one more thing that separates the chaplain corporation as a wholly from about all other support branches : the Army Chaplain Corps has a entire of eight Medal of Honor recipients. seven chaplains : John M. Whitehead, Francis B. Hall, James Hill, Milton L. Haney, Emil J. Kapaun, Charles J. Watters, Angelo J. Liteky, and one chaplain adjunct : Calvin P. Titus have all earned our nation ‘s highest honor. not besides bad for a “ easy skill ” corps !
“ Pro Deo Et Patria ”

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