Fort Benjamin Harrison, IN

“Expansion of the armed forces of the United States has created a proportionately increasing demand for chaplains. The Army and the Navy have opened new schools where these men of peace are being prepared for work in war…”1

“Two days after Pearl Harbor, the re-activation of the Chaplain School was set in motion. On 2 February 1942, 75 chaplains attended the first class at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. The 28-day session included 200 hours of instruction in military organization, customs and courtesies, military law, graves registration, first aid, military administration and chaplain activities. Gas mask drills, calisthenics and outdoor map orientation were also part of the curriculum.”2

“…The chaplains receive four weeks’ training before assignment to a regiment or to a post. A candidate must be a citizen actively engaged in the ministry as his principal vocation in life with at least three years of practical experience therein. He must be between the ages of 24 and 45, must be ecclesiastically [e]ndorsed by his church official or committee. The chaplain enters the service as a first lieutenant with a salary of $167.6 a month plus @1.20 a day for food and $40 or $60 a month (depending upon whether he is married) for lodging. This compares well, it was said, with the incomes of young ministers in parishes of moderate affluence.”3

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Chaplain-Stein-Fort-BH

Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. United States Army chaplain school. Chaplain Martin J. Stein, Lutheran, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, conducting services at the army post chapel, April 1942 (Library of Congress).

CH-Duane-CH-Thissen-Ft-BH

Chaplain Joseph W. Duane of Albany, New York and Chaplain Fredric Thissen of Minnesota, Catholics, saying mass at the U.S. Army chaplain school. Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana (Library of Congress).

Chaplain William Beeby

Chaplain William Beeby, youngest Chaplain at the school, getting ready to leave for his station. U.S. Army chaplain school, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, April 1942 (Library of Congress).

Chaplain P.S. Hall

Chaplain P.S. Hall, Episcopalian, of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, saying mass at the U.S. Army chaplain school. Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, April 1942 (Library of Congress).

Chaplain (MAJ) P.S. Hall

Chaplain (Major) P.S. Hall, Episcopalian, of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania packing his “mass kit.” This kit was dedicated by Bishop Tucker of the Holy Trinity Church of Philadelphia, and is the authorized official field altar for Episcopal chaplains. U.S. Army chaplain school, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, April 1942 (Library of Congress).

Chaplain Joseph W Ruane

Chaplain Joseph W. Ruane, packing his mass kit after saying Mass. This kit contains all the necessary articles and vestments needed during the Catholic religious services. Many of these kits are distributed by the Chaplain’s Aid Association of New York, and are built for compactness and portability. U.S. Army Chaplain School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, April 1942 (Library of Congress).

1942 chaplain school

9 Apr 1942: “Chaplains take turns in preaching at a class in church. 688 Protestants, 228 Roman Catholics, and 7 Jews.”

1942 Chaplain School

9 Apr 1942: “Chaplains are shown going through military drill. These men will be spiritual advisers (sic) to America’s fighting men, scattered throughout the globe.” Training school for Army chaplains at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Chaplain School 1942

“Pictured in their quarters are: Chaplain M.D. Stephens, of tulsa, Okla., a Baptist; Chaplain William Beeby, of Trenton, N.J., a Baptist; Chaplain L.D. Fletcher, of Dallas, Texas, a Presbyterian; Chaplain Arvil Teem, of Oklahoma City, Okla., a Baptist, (typing in background) Chaplain Rudolfe A. Renfer, of Eureka, Calif., a Presbyterian; (typing in foreground), and Chaplain Walter I. Poynton, of Englewood, N.J., a Roman Catholic, who is shining shoes. 4–42” (author’s collection).

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“In the field. Lieut. Col. David H. Keller (center), medical officer, instructs members of Army chaplains’ class how to serve as stretcher-bearers and in first aid on a battlefield. Army school has been established at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis. (By Wide World)” Photo from “Sunday News, New York Picture Newspaper,” May 17, 1942 (author’s collection).

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“All puffed up. Major P. G. Hall shows chaplain students how to make up a sleeping bag for field service. Men undergo four weeks of intensive training before assignment to post. Candidates range in age from 24 to 45, must have had three years of experience as ministers or priests and must be endorsed by church [sic]. (By Acme)” Photo from “Sunday News, New York Picture Newspaper,” May 17, 1942 (author’s collection).

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“Self-defense. Capt. William W. K. Kitchen explains the all important use of gas masks to chaplain candidates. Men must be versed in arts of war as well as peace. (By Acme)” Photo from “Sunday News, New York Picture Newspaper,” May 17, 1942 (author’s collection).

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“Sunday News, New York Picture Newspaper,” May 17, 1942.

U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School website.

Photo caption from photo with chaplain candidates on beds and surrounding area, shining shoes, typing and studying.

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