Army Chaplain School to Celebrate Centennial in July
Army chaplaincy has much to celebrate in 2018 – the 243rd birthday of the Army Chaplain Corps and the 100 year anniversary of the Army Chaplain School.
The saying goes, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” While the veracity of that saying is
up for debate, one thing is true: if a Soldier is in a foxhole, there is an Army chaplain and
religious affairs specialist close by.
On July 20, the Army Chaplaincy will converge on Columbia, South Carolina, to hold the Centennial Celebration of the Army Chaplain School and to recognize the Army Chaplain Corps 243 Years of service.
The event will be held at the University of South Carolina Alumni Center, 900 Senate
Street, Columbia, South Carolina. All are welcome. For ticket information visit
https://www.eventbrite.com/o/united-states-army-chaplain-center-and-school-17341728260. This will be an evening of fun and inspiration as we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Army Chaplain School by “Looking back … launching forward,” said Chap. (Col.) Jeffery D. Hawkins, commandant of the U.S. Army Chaplaincy Center and School.
For 243 Years just as the Army itself, chaplains have served to “bring God to Soldiers and Soldiers to God.”
It was Continental Army Commander, Gen. George Washing- ton who is credited with saying, “We need chaplains.” And on his request to the Continental Congress, chaplains were established as part of the Army on July 25, 1775.
Army chaplains have stood alongside America’s fighting men and women during all of our wars. Some are buried in Arlington National Cemetery and cemeteries across the country. On the campus of the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School at Fort Jackson is a memorial garden with the names of chaplains and religious affairs specialist wars, conflicts and attacks on our homeland.
Eight have been awarded the Medal of Honor: Chap. John Whitehead, Civil War; Chap. Francis B. Hall, Civil War; 1st. Lt. James Hill, Civil War; Chap. Milton L. Haney, Civil War; Calvin P. Titus, Battle of Peking; Chap. (Capt.) Emil J. Kapaun, Korea; Chap. (Maj.) Charles J. Watters, Vietnam; Chap. (Capt.) Angelo J. Liteky, Vietnam.
The Army Chief of Chaplains, Chap. (Maj. Gen.) Paul Hurley has charged Army chaplains to “Live the Call Fiercely” as they go out among units to carry out their duties to nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the fallen.
The importance of chaplains in the Army was fully realized with the establishment of the Army
The U.S. Army Chaplain School’s first session began March 3, 1918, to orient civilian clergymen to Army life. Originally located at Fort Monroe, Virginia, the five-week course consisted of military law, international law, Army regulations, service customs, hygiene, first aid and horsemanship. Chap. (Maj.) Aldred A. Pruden was appointed as the school’s first commandant. USACHCS re-located to Fort Jackson, South Carolina in 1996.
“Here at USACHCS we are ‘Shaping servant leaders … of unmatched character, competence and
connection … for God and country,’” Hawkins said.
The USACHCS trains chaplains and religious affairs specialists/NCOs to provide religious support to America’s Army and their families while assisting commanders in ensuring the right of free exercise of religion for all Soldiers.
Over 20 courses are offered to the chaplains and the religious affairs specialists/NCOs to
include the Chaplain Officer Basic Leader Course, residence and non-residence Chaplain
Captain Career Course, Brigade Chaplain Course, Advanced Individual Training and the Lieutenant Colonel Course. Functional Courses include the Resource Manager Course and the Fund Clerk Course.
In 2017, 1390 chaplains, chaplain candidates and religious affairs specialists received instruction in a variety of courses. The different components represented are: 477 active duty, 361 National Guard, 551 Reserve and 1 international student.
The religious affairs specialist also helps ensure a Soldier’s spiritual wellness is taken care of.
Religious affairs specialist training began as the Enlisted Assistant Basic Course in
1950 at the Chaplain School then located at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. In 1996, the U.S.
Army Chaplain Center and School, including both officer and enlisted courses, moved to its present home at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Together, the chaplain and religious affairs specialist make up the Unit Ministry Team. The UMT provides religious sup- port and advice to the commander. It is the duty and responsibility of the religious affairs specialist along with their Chap- lain to tend to the spirit of each Soldier. While the chaplain is a non-combatant, the religious affairs specialist is responsible for the security of the team, and is fully trained in Soldier tasks and religious support matters.
Today, there are chaplains and religious affairs specialists serving the Army in active duty, Reserve and National Guard units around the world.
Article data: written by Mel Slater, Army Chaplain Center and School Public Affairs. Article and photos first appeared in the Fort Jackson Leader, 4 July 2018, pgs. 6 & 20. Accessed 5 July 2018.