Fort Monroe, VA

“The U.S. Army Chaplain School was created out of a need to adequately train chaplains to staff the large fighting force that the United States was creating in 1917 for service in World War I. Chaplain (MAJ) Aldred A. Pruden developed the plan for the school. On 9 February 1918, the War Department approved Chaplain Pruden’s plan, and the first session of the Chaplain School commenced on 3 March 1918, at Fort Monroe, Virginia. Chaplain Pruden was designated as its first commandant and established a five-week curriculum which included courses in international and military law, first aid, drill, rules of land warfare and equitation.

“During the operation of the school, 1,696 clergymen were authorized to attend. Of these 1,315 reported, 915 were graduated, commissioned, and assigned to duty; 123 were appointed to the Officer’s Reserve Corps. Thus, 1,038 chaplains or chaplain candidates were graduated, of whom 123 didn’t see active duty because they did not graduate until after the Armistice. A subsidiary Chaplain School was also established in France in 1918 near the headquarters of the American Expeditionary Force at Chaumont. The one-week course (eventually expanded to 10 days) provided realistic simulation of battlefield training including gas defense drill and identification and burial of the dead. Approximately 600 chaplains attended the school in its eight-month existence.”1

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1U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School website.

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