WW2 Steel-Cover NT a “Racket”?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

WW2 Gold-plated, steel-covered New Testament (photo courtesy Chaplain Bob Nay)

We’ve probably all heard stories of Soldiers’ lives saved by that New Testament with a steel cover kept in the breast pocket, given to them by their wife or mother before they left for war. While we can’t be certain those stories are true, we can be certain those Bibles and other “rackets” practiced during World War Two raised suspicion at the time, as being “schemes” to prey on the fears and misfortunes encountered during war. Here is a news article from a 1944 Stars and Stripes warning about some of them:

.

.

Rackets Breed on War Misery1

Sales of ‘Armored’ Bibles For Protection in Combat Just One of Schemes

WASHINGTON, July 30, 1944 (UP)–Authorities are clamping down on racketeers who are making fortunes out of the misfortunes of others during the war.

NT-WW2-Metal-1

Steel-covered New Testament given to Seaman 2nd Class Richard M. Chernich by Chaplain J. F. Moore of the U.S.S. Baxter (author’s collection)

A ‘Bible racket’ which trades on the anxiety of families and friends of men in the services is an example. Thousands of Bibles, prayer books, and other religious books are being sold with light steel covers as ‘heart protectors.’

‘Far from saving a soldier’s life,’ said Miss Patricia Lochridge, Washington correspondent of the Woman’s Home magazine, ‘the books may actually cause more serious damage. The ordinary rifle bullet becomes virtually a dum-dum bullet upon striking an armored book.’

Another new racket is the person who listens to enemy shortwave broadcasts and takes down the names of prisoners. He then calls on the relatives and offers to repeat the messages for sums ranging from $3 to $100.

Another racket is for letters to be sent to relatives of men whose names have appeared in casualty lists asking for the return of money which the write claims to have lent the soldier.

With increasing numbers of casualties returning, rackets involving the wounded are also flourishing. One organization collected funds for ambulances. In its pamphlet the organization claimed that ‘the government does not provide ambulance equipment for its soldiers. The government policy is to let the Army depend upon the civilian population for ambulances.’

.

.

1“The Stars and Stripes,” Vol. 4, No. 231, July 31, 1944, pg. 3.

.

.

NT-Steel-Cover-Racket-2

Original article from The Stars and Stripes, 31 July 1944, pg 3 (author’s collection)

.

.

 

Chaplain Death Toll Is 24; 3400 Serving Overseas

31 July 1944: Twenty-four Army chaplains have been killed to date, the War Department announced yesterday and 33 have been taken prisoner. Some 3,400 chaplains are now serving overseas.

Meanwhile SHAEF announced the names of 13 chaplains who jumped with the paratroopers in Normandy on D-Day from four to six hours before the first seaborne unit landed. They were:

Capts Raymond S. Hall, Episcopalian, the first jumping in the U.S. Army, who was injured; George B. Wood, Episcopalian; Matthew J. Connelly, Catholic; Roert H. Hennon, Baptist; John J. Verret, Catholic; James L. Elder, Baptist; Ignatius P. Maternowski, Catholic; killed in action; Kenneth M. Engle, Methodist; Francis L. Sampson, Catholic; Joseph Andrejewski, Catholic; Tilden S. McGee, Baptist; John S. Maloney, Catholic, awarded the DSC; and William Reid, Methodist.

.

.

“The Stars and Stripes,” Vol. 4, No. 231, July 31, 1944, pg. 5.

.

.

Original, from The Stars and Stripes, 31 July 1944 (author’s collection)

.

.

 

Truce in the Forest: The Story of a World War II Christmas Eve Truce Between German & American Soldiers During the Battle of the Bulge

 

Most people have heard the story of the front-line, Christmas-time, truce in France during World War One, partially due to its retelling in the 2005 movie, Joyeux Noël, but not many have heard of the small Christmas Eve truce forced upon a handful of American and German Soldiers by a godly German woman during the Battle of the Bulge in World War Two. In 1973, Fritz Vincken told the story of what young Fritz witnessed as a child, in his home on the German-Belgian border that miraculous Christmas Eve. It is reposted here, in its entirety, for educational purposes:

.

Truce in the Forest, by Fritz Vincken1

It was Christmas Eve, and the last desperate German offensive of WWII raged around our tiny cabin. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door…

German-Cottage (2)When we heard the knock on our door that Christmas Eve in 1944, neither Mother nor I had the slightest inkling of the quiet miracle that lay in store for us. I was 12 then, and we were living in a small cottage in the Huertgen Forest, near the German-Belgian border. Father had stayed at the cottage on hunting weekends before the war; when Allied bombers partly destroyed our hometown of Aachen, he sent us to live there. He had been ordered into the civil-defense fire guard in the border town of Monschau, four miles away.

“You’ll be safe in the woods,” he had told me. “Take care of Mother. Now you’re the man of the family.” But nine days before Christmas, Field Marshal Von Rundstedt had launched the last, desperate German offensive of the war, and now, as I went to the door, the Battle of the Bulge was raging all around us. We heard the incessant booming of field guns; planes soared continuously overhead; at night searchlights stabbed through the darkness. Thousands of Allied and German soldiers were fighting and dying nearby.

When that first knock came, Mother quickly blew out the candles; then, as I went to answer it, she stepped ahead of me and pushed open the door. Outside, like phantoms against the snow-clad trees, stood two steel-helmeted men. One of them spoke to Mother in a language we did not understand, pointing to a third man lying in the snow. She realized before I did that these were American soldiers. Enemies!

Mother stood silent, motionless, her hand on my shoulder. They were armed and could have forced their entrance, yet they stood there and asked with their eyes. And the wounded man seemed more dead than alive. “Kommt rein,” Mother said, finally. “Come in.” The soldiers carried their comrade inside and stretched him out on my bed.

None of them understood German. Mother tried French, and one of the soldiers could converse in that language. As Mother went to look after the wounded man, she said to me, “The fingers of those two are numb. Take off their jackets and boots, and bring in a bucket of snow.” Soon I was rubbing their blue feet with snow.

Battle-of-the-Bulge-1We learned that the stocky, dark-haired fellow was Jim; his friend, tall and slender, was Robin. Harry, the wounded one, was now sleeping on my bed, his face as white as the snow outside. They’d lost their battalion and had wandered in the forest for three days, looking for the Americans, hiding from the Germans. They hadn’t shaved, but still, without their heavy coats, they looked merely like big boys. And that was the way Mother began to treat them.

Now Mother said to me, “Go get Hermann. And bring six potatoes.”

This was a serious departure from our pre-Christmas plans. Hermann was the plump rooster (named after portly Hermann Goering, Hitler’s No. 2 man, for whom Mother had little affection) that we had been fattening for weeks in the hope that Father would be home for Christmas. But, some hours before, when it was obvious that Father would not make it, Mother had decided that Hermann should live a few more days, in case Father could get home for New Year’s. Now she had changed her mind again; Hermann would serve an immediate, pressing purpose.

While Jim and I helped with the cooking, Robin took care of Harry. He had a bullet through his upper leg and had almost bled to death. Mother tore a bed-sheet into long strips for bandages.

Soon, the tempting smell of roast chicken permeated our room. I was setting the table when once again there came a knock at the door. Expecting to find more lost Americans, I opened the door without hesitation. There stood four soldiers, wearing uniforms quite familiar to me after five years of war. They were Wehrmacht – Germans!

I was paralyzed with fear. Although still a child, I knew the harsh law: sheltering enemy soldiers constituted high treason. We could all be shot! Mother was frightened, too. Her face was white, but she stepped outside and said, quietly, “Froehliche Weihnachten.” The soldiers wished her a Merry Christmas, too. “We have lost our regiment and would like to wait for daylight,” explained the corporal. “Can we rest here?”

“Of course,” Mother replied, with a calmness, born of panic. “You can also have a fine, warm meal and eat till the pot is empty.” The Germans smiled as they sniffed the aroma through the half open door. “But,” Mother added firmly, “we have three other guests, whom you may not consider friends.” Now her voice was suddenly sterner than I’d ever heard it before. “This is Christmas Eve, and there will be no shooting here.”

“Who’s inside?” the corporal demanded. “Amerikaner?”

Mother looked at each frost-chilled face. “Listen,” she said slowly. “You could be my sons, and so could they in there. A boy with a gunshot wound, fighting for his life, and his two friends, lost like you and just as hungry and exhausted as you are. This one night,” she turned to the corporal and raised her voice a little, “This Christmas night, let us forget about killing.”

The corporal stared at her. There were two or three endless seconds of silence. Then Mother put an end to indecision. “Enough talking!” she ordered, and clapped her hands sharply. “Please put your weapons here on the woodpile, and hurry up before the others eat the dinner!:

Dazedly, the four soldiers placed their arms on the pile of firewood just inside the door: three carbines, a light machine gun and two bazookas. Meanwhile, Mother was speaking French rapidly to Jim. He said something in English, and to my amazement I saw the American boys, too, turn their weapons over to Mother. Now, as the Germans and Americans tensely rubbed elbows in the small room, Mother was really on her mettle. Never losing her smile, she tried to find a seat for everyone. We had only three chairs, but Mother’s bed was big, and on it she placed two of the newcomers side by side with Jim and Robin.

Despite the strained atmosphere, Mother went right on preparing dinner. But Hermann wasn’t going to grow any bigger, and now there were four more mouths to feed. “Quick” she whispered to me, “get more potatoes and some oats. These boys are hungry, and a starving man is an angry one.”

While foraging in the storage room, I heard Harry moan. When I returned, one of the Germans had put on his glasses to inspect the American’s wound. “Do you belong to the medical corps?” Mother asked him. “No,” he answered. “But I studied medicine at Heidelberg until a few months ago.” Thanks to the cold, he told the Americans in what sounded like fairly good English, Harry’s wound hadn’t become infected. “He is suffering from a severe loss of blood,” he explained to Mother. “What he needs is rest and nourishment.”

Relaxation was now beginning to replace suspicion. Even to me, all the soldiers looked very young as we sat there together. Heinz and Willi, both from Cologne, were 16. There German corporal, at 23, was the oldest of them all. From his food bag he drew out a bottle of red wine, and Heinz managed to find a loaf of rye bread. Mother cut that in small pieces to be served with the dinner; half the wine, however, she put away, “for the wounded boy.”

Then Mother said grace. I noticed that there were tears in her eyes as she said the old, familiar words, “Komm, Herr Jesus. Be our guest.” And as I looked around the table, I saw tears, too, in the eyes of the battle-weary soldiers, boys again, some from America, some from Germany, all far from home.

Just before midnight, Mother went to the doorstep and asked us to join her to look up at the Star of Bethlehem. We all stood beside her except Harry, who was sleeping. For all of us during the moment of silence, looking at the brightest star in the heavens, the war was a distant, almost-forgotten thing.

Our private armistice continued next morning. Harry woke in the early hours, and swallowed some broth that Mother fed him. With the dawn, it was apparent that he was becoming stronger. Mother now made him an invigorating drink from our one egg, the rest of the corporal’s wine and some sugar. Everyone else had oatmeal. Afterward, two poles and Mother’s best tablecloth were fashioned into a stretcher for Harry.

The German corporal then advised the Americans how to find their way back to their lines. Looking over Jim’s map, the corporal pointed out a stream. “Continue along this creek,” he said, “and you will find the 1st Army rebuilding its Forces on its upper course.” The medical student relayed the information in English.

“Why don’t we head for Monschau?” Jim had the student ask. “Nein,” the corporal exclaimed. “We’ve retaken Monschau.”

Now Mother gave them all back their weapons. “Be careful, boys,” she said, “I want you to get home someday where you belong. God bless you all!” The German and American soldiers shook hands, and we watched them disappear in opposite directions.

When I returned inside, Mother had brought out the old family Bible. I glanced over her shoulder. The book was open to the Christmas story, the Birth in the Manger and how the Wise Men came from afar bearing their gifts.

Her finger was tracing the last line from Matthew 2:21, “…they departed into their own country another way.”

——————————

Not long after Vincken’s story appeared in Reader’s Digest, a short video was produced based on that event:

.

.

.

Vincken, Fritz, “Truce in the Forest,” Readers Digest, January 1973, pp 111-114.

.

.

 

 

 

Christmas at the Front

Just like Thanksgiving, few Christmases roll around without the United States having hundreds or thousands of Service Members deployed to various parts of the world fighting for and defending freedom. It seldom fails that wherever our armed forces find themselves, they find ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Here are some examples of Christmas celebrations at the front…and a few from the “Homefront.”

.

George Washington visits the troops encamped at Valley Forge over Christmas, 1777

.

Christmas dinner of enlisted men at Valdahon, France, 1917

.

Christmas decorations in the Y.M.C.A. at Valdahon, France, 1917

.

Officers of Headquarters 79th Division, who served cocoa, sandwiches, cake, orange, nuts, grapes, cigars, and cigarettes to enlisted men of Headquarters at Y.M.C.A. Christmas night. Dugny, Meuse, France. Dec. 25, 1918

.

All Pennsylvania soldiers in Co. B of the 10th Regiment in Camp Lee’s Quartermaster Replacement Center gather to sing carols around the tree to show how men of the Keystone State demonstrate Christmas spirit. Camp Lee, Virginia. December 1941.

.

“Continuous night bombing schedule of the intensive bombardier training program allows no time out for Christmas Eve worship. Lt. Eugene F. McCahey, flying chaplain of San Angelo Army Air Field, bring the Christmas message to the bomber flight line on Dec. 24, 1942. Pausing after the cadets receive his blessing before continuing their practice blasting of the 18,000 acres of this bombardier school’s night target bombing ranges in San Angelo, Texas. Chaplain McCahey is himself a pilot.” (AP Photo).

.

A Sherman tank with a Christmas greeting painted on its hull, Benghazi, 26 December 1942.

.

U.S. Soldiers Caroleers Circle Globe. The Christmas spirit is universal, the traditions unchanging even in the midst of war. Where ever our American troops are to be found throughout the world Christmas Carols will be heard in joyful hymns on the eve of the Nativity of Christ. In India – “Come and Behold Him, Born the King of Angels”. 1942

.

Chaplain Lt. Col. William King leads troops of the 45th in Christmas Day services in Italy, 25 December 1943

.

“Christmas Day services near the front, in Italy. Lt. Col. William E. King, of Kansas City, Mo., Chaplain of the 45th Division, speaks to men assembled near their Bivouac Area. Notice the Young dog by the Altar.” Venafro area, Italy. 25 December 1943.

.

“1st LT Harvey Floyd Bell, Chaplain of 1st Bn., 180th Inf. Regt., says grace before Christmas dinner is served.” Demanio area, Italy. 25 December 1943

.

“During prayer, the flag is lowered at outdoor Christmas Day services conducted by LT Aloysis S. Carney, Jersey City, New Jersey, at Headquarters of 120th Medical Clearing Co.” Venafro area, Italy. 25 December 1943

.

Somewhere in the Pacific, Depot Chapel decorated for Christmas, 1944

.

Somewhere in the Pacific, Christmas worship service in the Depot Chapel, 1944

.

Soldiers of the 463rd Combat Engineers in France near the German border pause to observe Christmas the best way they could 25 December 1944. Note K-ration cans as ornaments and three stacked M1 Garand rifles

.

General Patton’s Christmas greeting to his troops, Christmas 1944. On the reverse side was the prayer for good weather written by his chaplain

.

An American MP stands stands guard in front of a 65 ft. tree at the top of Radicosa Pass; 2500 ft. in the Appennine Mountains. Italy, December 18, 1944

.

US Army soldiers stationed in the small Luxembourg town of Wiltz, gave the townfolk, and especially the children, a St. Nicholas Day celebration in Dec 1944

.

Christmas greetins from Chaplain William J. Mahoney, 121st Medical BN, South Pacific, 1944

.

Bundles from America for soldiers in the field with Field Artillery Unit in Germany. Holding Christmas packages are, left to right: Pfc. W.J. Kessler; Pfc. J.L. Proffitt; Pvt. B. Narter; Cpl. T.J. Barnewski; and Pfc. J. Stoll. 11/26/44

.

CHRISTMAS SERVICE – Personnel of the 303rd Bomb Group receive the Sacrament Of Holy Communion at an airbase somewhere in England. 26 December 1944

.

Manger scene in Yokota, Japan, 1951

.

Korean KP decorates Christmas tree set up in front of serving counter of HQs & HQs Co, 19th Inf Regt, 24th US Inf Div, as Christmas Day dinner is readied for men of the Co. Korea. 25 December 1951

.

Men of Co “B”, 4th Signal Bn, X US Corps, prepare to decorate the Christmas tree at Bn HQ. Korea. 11 December 1951

.

Men of Co “F”, 9th Inf Regt, 2nd U.S. Inf Div, enjoy their Christmas Day dinner at CO HQS, Korea. 25 December 1951

.

Soldiers in Germany prepare to deliver gifts to local children, 1953

.

Navy Chaplain Capodanno with a manager scene in Vietnam, 1966

.

1967-12-25 – C Co, 4th Bn, 9th Inf, 25th Inf Division, Manchus, Young and Christmas tree at Katum chow line Cambodian border. 1967 Katum, Late Dec — Young is holding our Christmas dinners, as I took the picture of him with the tree. Young was killed in the March 2, 1968 at the Hoc Mon bridge ambush

.

Soldier eats Christmas dinner by a simple Christmas Tree. Vietnam, ca 1967

.

The troops get a visit from Santa Claus. Vietnam ca 1968

.

U.S. soldiers set up a Christmas tree in a spare mortar pit at the Duc Lap Special Forces camp. 1969. (Bettmann/CORBIS)

.

Christmas in Vietnam, ca 1970

.

Soldiers gather around a small Christmas tree for a picture. Vietnam, ca 1972

.

Army Spc. Freddy Barahona, left, and Army Spc. Michael Hanes enjoy their Christmas at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, 2004 (photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kristin Fitzsimmons, USN)

.

Army Sgt. Maj. Della St. Louis, operations sergeant major for Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, takes her real Christmas tree on a tour of Camp Taji, Iraq, to have soldiers of the camp help decorate it, 2004 (Cpl. Benjamin Cossel, USA)

.

Santa visits the troops, ca 2005

.

U.S. Navy Lt. Jennifer Bowder, a chaplain with Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, conducts a Christmas service for U.S. Marines and Soldiers at Combat Post Heider in Rabiah, Iraq, Dec. 29, 2008. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jason W. Fudge/Released)

.

Santa gets a lift from a Blackhawk helicopter to visit the troops, ca 2010

.

Dec 24 2010: A U.S. Airman carries a candle to light those of his colleagues during a ceremony on the eve of Christmas at the US base of Camp Phoenix in Kabul Afghanistan (AP)

.

Santa visits the troops in Bagram, Afghanistan, ca 2012

.

Altar prepared for Christmas Worship by Navy Chaplain Jonathon Maloney at FOB Deli, Afghanistan, 2012

.

Christmas greetings sent from Camp Clark, Khost Provence, Afghanistan, 2014

.

Santa visits the troops, ca 2015

.

SGT Santa Claus stands in formation with his elves, ca 2015

.

First Sergeant Santa Claus marches with Marines, ca 2015

.

Navy Chaplain Jonathon Maloney stands by the Christmas tree in his office on the USS San Diego while at sea, Christmas 2017

.

On the Homefront: Cantonement Chapel on Fort Leonard Wood decorated for Christmas during World War II

.

On the Homefront: The Panzer “Santa”, with well-filled sack of radios, books, cookies, and other gifts dear to soldiers hearts, glides up to the door of the barracks in Camp Lee’s Quartermaster Corps and it isn’t hampered by lack of snow in Virginia. Camp Lee, Virginia, Quartermaster Replacement Center. December 1941

.

On the Homefront: Christmas Eve service at the Main Post Chapel on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, 2015

.

On the Homefront: Christmas Day Mass at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Hood, led by Father Lito Amande, 2015

.

On the Homefront: Interior of St. Mary’s Chapel at Fort Riley, decorated for Christmas, 2016

.

Wherever you’re reading this from, either from a deployed location or at home, or a family member missing their deployed service member, If you celebrate Christmas, I wish for you a very blessed and merry holiday season and pray for the safe return of all of our deployed and separated service members!

.

.

Christmas at War

For as long as we’ve been a nation (and even before) American Service Members have been deployed during the holidays. Here’s a short video that shows some of the Christmas scenes from wartime deployments and the home front during war.

With this video goes out a special “Merry Christmas!” to our armed forces wherever they may be serving this Christmas.

.

.

Better Late than Never?

US-Capitol.

Having “faithfully and constantly preached to said soldiers, and in all respects performed all the duties pertaining to said office of chaplain” for the 13th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment from 1865 onwards, the U.S. House of Representatives added Chaplain Stephen Collis to the muster rolls of the Regiment in 1888, the officers of the Regiment having neglected to properly add him as they promised. Below is the transcript of Report No. 555 of the 50th Congress, 1st Session, 5 Dec 1887-20 Oct 1888 (author’s collection):

.

.

.

__________________________

February 21, 1888.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Ford, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the following

Report:

(To accompany bill H.R. 478.)

The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 478) to place the name of Rev. Stephen M. Collis on the muster-roll of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry as chaplain thereof, have had the same under careful consideration and submit the following report:

Said Stephen M. Collis has been for a number of years a regularly ordained minister of the Gospel and a duly authorized preacher of the Baptist Church. That on or about the 1st day of April, 1865, he was on a visit to the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, at Lenoir’s Station, in the State of Tennessee, said regiment being at the time without a chaplain; that while there the officers and soldiers of said regiment by a petition strongly solicited him to remain with said regiment as its chaplain.

That upon such solicitation and a promise by the officers that he should be duly mustered as a chaplain of the regiment, he consented to remain and did remain with said regiment during the remaining period of its service, and faithfully and constantly preached to said soldiers, and in all respects performed all the duties pertaining to said office of chaplain, but his name was not placed upon the rolls of the regiment.

In consideration of the faithful service performed, and the understanding that this aged minister should be paid for his services, which has not been done, the bill is favorably reported.

__________________________

The bill (H.R. 478) was brought to the floor of the House by Mr. Johnston of North Carolina, on 24 February 1888 where it passed and Chaplain Collis was added to the muster rolls of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, 20 years after his service.

.

.

French Chaplains at Fort Saint Frederic

Model of Fort Saint Frédéric

Model of Fort Saint Frédéric

Long before the American Revolution, British and French colonial powers both laid claim to the Champlain Valley and the strategically important peninsula known as Crown Point. With their occupation came chaplains to meet the religious needs of the Soldiers stationed there. The page on The Chaplain Kit, “French Chaplains at Fort. St. Frederic” lists the French chaplains who served during the French occupation from 1732-1758.

.

.

A Career of the Highest Calling

“Faith in God is the heartbeat of men and the lifeblood of nations. The United States Army believes in this doctrine…” begins an Army chaplain recruiting brochure from 1954. it continues:

The emergence of the United States as the champion of democracy and freedom under God has been built on the twin bulwarks of faith in God and high moral principle. To guard this heritage and to insure that it will never be lost, the Army has qualified chaplains as part of its armament.

This red, black and white brochure goes on to tell of the tradition of chaplaincy from the Egyptians, 16 centuries before the Christian era, through the Hebrews and Romans. It speaks of chaplains who served during the French and Indian War then “in every war in which this country has engaged.”

It goes on to describe the many opportunities for “real service” as chaplains in the United States Army and the urgent need for “many men to make great sacrifices for the cause of liberty,” sacrifices which “must be shared and supported by the churches of the Nation.”

It concludes with a few lines from the official Chaplains’ March, Soldiers of God, which was sure to inspire prospective candidates for the chaplaincy:

Soldiers of God, we serve Him faithfully

and march in his name

Through thunder and flame

Wherever the ‘call’ may be

Trusting in God, His strength we lean upon

As into the fight the Legions of Light,

The Soldiers of God, march on …

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Thanksgiving at the Front

Few Thanksgiving Days have passed without there being Service Members from the United States stationed somewhere around the world, away from family and usually far from home. Missing holidays and special family occasions is a fact of military life. Here are a few pictures from our archives of some of those Thanksgivings from our history.

.

Civil War soldiers enjoying a Thanksgiving meal.

.

Chaplain Judah Nadich delivers a sermon to American servicemen at a Thanksgiving service in the rue de la Victoire synagogue in Paris, 23 November 1944.

.

Men of the US Army Air Corps listen to a sermon on ‘The Source of our Strength’ during a Thanksgiving service at Cransley in Northamptonshire. The sermon is being given by Chaplain Ward J Fellows. Just visible to the left of the pulpit is Reverend Greville-Cooke, the vicar of Cransley, 23 November 1944.

.

Chaplain F. McDonald 1944

Chaplain F. McDonald of the 12th Army Special Troops, leads a Thanksgiving prayer for the leaders of the 12th Army in 1944.

.

Chaplain Gercke

“Chaplain (Capt.) Henry A. Gereke, U.S. Army, St. Louis, Mo., reads a short sermon to the audience celebrating Thanksgiving day in the court room of the Palace of Justice, Nuernberg, Germany. The audience consisted mostly of Allied representatives to the International military tribunal, which included Francis Biddle, Robert Jackson, and Justice Birkett, representing the U.S. during the trials. 11-22-45. Signal Corps Photo. Please credit. Released by authority of the Bureau of Public Relations or by Theatre Press Censor.”

.

Chaplain Riddle Conducts Thanksgiving Day Services in Korea, 23 Nov 50.

.

“The hood of a jeep serves as a makeshift altar for Cdr Martin J. Doermann, 12th Marines regimental chaplain, at Gio Linh, south of the Demilitarized Zone, on Thanksgiving Day 1968. Cdr Doermann was among 20 chaplains visiting forward units that holiday.” (DoD photo)

.

Chaplain (CPT) Daryl Densford praying before the Thanksgiving meal at Basrah, Iraq, 27 November 2008.

.

Chaplain (CPT) Daryl Densford leads a Thanksgiving worship service with American and British Service Members at Camp Basrah, Iraq, 27 November 2008.

.

Chaplain Daryl Densford

Chaplain (CPT) Daryl Densford visiting Soldiers of 3-159 ARB at a FARP in eastern Iraq on Thanksgiving weekend in 28 November 2008.

.

Lieutenant Commander Paul A. Anderson, a Navy Chaplain and pastor from Perham’s New Creation Lutheran Church, blesses Marines at an outpost in Iraq during a communion service over Thanksgiving weekend, 2008.

.

Maj. Gen Vincent Brooks, 1st Infantry Division and United States Division-South Commanding General, Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas Carver, United States Army Chaplain, Lt. Col. Timothy Mallard, 1st Infantry Division and USD-S chaplain and Cpt. Johnvianney Ijeoma, 1st Inf. Div., Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion chaplain recites a hymn at the Post Chapel Thanksgiving worship service Nov. 25, 2010 in Basra, Iraq. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Chanelcherie DeMello, USD-S Public Affairs)

.

Soldiers and civilians recite a scripture from the bible at the Post Chapel Thanksgiving worship service Nov. 25, 2010 in Basra, Iraq. The ceremony featured a sermon and testament from guest speaker Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas Carver, United States Army chaplain, in honor of Thanksgiving. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Chanelcherie DeMello, USD-S Public Affairs)

 

.

Wherever you are today, whether it’s with your family at home, or with your brothers and sisters in arms somewhere far from home, our prayer and hope for you is that you will have a Happy Thanksgiving with much to thank God for!

.

.

The Church and the Chaplain (1952)

FM-21-13-50“The Army recognizes the importance of religion in the American way of life and in your training as a soldier. For that reason, a complete program of religious training is provided for soldiers of the three general faiths, Catholic, Jewish and Protestant. This program for the spiritual and moral welfare of the soldier is the responsibility of the commanding officer and is carried out through the chaplain assigned to the unit Chaplains advise commanders in religious matters and work directly with soldiers in helping them solve their problems. The chaplains have volunteered for this duty and it is their desire to be of the greatest possible service to soldiers and their dependents. Separate religious services usually are conducted for members of the three faiths, but it is sometimes impossible to conduct a separate service for each group. When this is the case, a general religious worship service is held. Attendance at these services is, of course, entirely a personal matter, but if you participate, you will find them a source of inner strength and your job as a soldier will be made easier.

“If your church requires that you attend services of your denomination, see your unit chaplain and he may be able to direct you to a chaplain of your faith in the area, or to a church of your faith in a nearby community.

“Available to you also are other religious activities such as Sunday school classes, Bible study classes, Holy Name Societies, and the Serviceman’s Christian League.

“Remember that the chaplain is always available to help you as a personal counselor. He will be happy to talk to you about any personal problem and will try to help you find a solution. Anything you tell him is confidential and privileged. This means tha the cannot be required to repeat anything you have told him. The chaplain will visit soldiers in the guardhouse or hospital, and you may call upon him to conduct religious services such as baptisms and weddings.

“It is customary to address these officers as ‘Chaplain,’ but Catholic chaplain may prefer to be called ‘Father’; Jewish chaplains may prefer to be called ‘Rabbi’; and Protestant chaplains sometimes prefer to be called ‘Reverend.”

.

.

Taken from FM 21-13, “The Soldier’s Guide,” Department of the Army, June 1952 (author’s collection).

.

.

 

%d bloggers like this: