An interesting, if wordy and sometimes hard to follow, paper entitled “South Korea’s Christian Military Chaplaincy in the Korean War – religion as ideology?” was recently published by Vladimir Tikhonov, a Soviet-born professor at Oslo University with a doctorate in ancient Korean history. It seeks to find the “reason for the rapid growth” of Christianity in South Korea — which the author suggests is the military chaplaincy: Read more…
The short 5-minute video is retired Chaplain (MajGen) Douglas Carver, formerly the US Army Chief of Chaplains, and now the executive director of chaplain services for the North American Mission Board, sharing stories from his experiences as a chaplain in the US Army.
One of the most interesting, at about the 2:00 mark, is his story about a civilian-clothed operator whom he helped reconcile his mission — covertly tracking and killing the enemy, on a personal level — and the righteousness of God. As the story continues, Chaplain Carver relates how that man came to help him.
Via the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Speak Up.
The US military has long recognized the value of the family, even as it applies directly to the military mission. For that reason the military services have had a variety of programs to not only counter divorce, but also to help make marriages and families stronger. An Air Force Times article notes budget cuts have apparently not eliminated the marriage enrichment programs in the Air Force.
It’s a chance to really look at marriage with Read more…
Dr. Jennifer Bryson, a guest writer at the Washington Post and research professor at the US Army War College, oversteps her expertise in a recent article, saying:
It is time for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA to consider allowing nuns to serve as U.S. military chaplains.
She claims she has heard three main criticisms when she has made this argument in the past:
First I hear, “But women can’t celebrate Mass.” Of course not…Second I hear, “Oh no, all nuns are liberal!”…Third I hear, “No woman would want to serve in the military as a Catholic chaplain.”
Those criticisms are irrelevant. More to the point is the criticism the Military Archdiocese lacks the authority she demands it assume: The US military has rules, procedures, Read more…
A US Army article from Afghanistan covers the “Teach-Love-Care” aspect of the military chaplaincy. Several chaplains are quoted discussing unique and interesting aspects of the chaplain field:
On exposure to varying religious beliefs in the military:
“As a civilian minister, I was very church oriented, always surrounded by Christians. There wasn’t much chance to go out and meet people of other beliefs,” said U.S. Army chaplain Capt. Soojin Chang, a Southern Baptist chaplain…”But in the Army, I don’t have to go out and search for these people. They come to me and we discuss about our belief. There is a mutual respect with each other.”
On troops openness to faith: Read more…
As US Army Chaplain (Capt) Emil Kapaun posthumously receives the Medal of Honor for his service during the Korean War, the US Army took the opportunity to highlight the story of the entire chaplaincy during the era of the Korean War, including Chaplain Felhoelter, the first US Army chaplain killed in the conflict:
Other chaplains…narrowly escap[ed] as one American position after another fell before the North Korean advance. All survived, with the exception of Chaplain Herman G. Felhoelter of the 19th Infantry Regiment.
With his battalion falling back as the American position along the Kum River collapsed, Felhoelter volunteered to remain behind Read more…
The DoD has published a lengthy, two-part (1, 2) story on Chaplain Emil Kapaun, who will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor tomorrow. The articles contain many details of his private and military life, as well as many photographs.
Update: The well-covered story by the Associated Press. In addition, an Army.mil article notes a memorial in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where military facilities are named in honor of Kapaun, including a Kapaun Chapel that still hosts services.
In 1955, four years after his death, the Army named Kapaun Barracks — now Kapaun Administration Annex in Kaiserslautern, Germany — after him.
A local article highlights US Army Chaplain (Maj) Douglas Ball and Chap (Capt) Rodney Gilliam, who visited an off-site training location to meet Soldiers’ spiritual needs:
The chaplains wanted to show Soldiers they care about them and are there if they need to talk, Ball said.
“For many of them, I provide a different avenue,” he said. “One of the advantages of the chaplains is our confidentiality…
The quoted troops responded positively: Read more…
Rabbi Herschel Schacter, a US Army Chaplain in World War II, has died. Rabbi Schacter had been prominent in the Modern Orthodox movement with Judaism. The Associated Press recalls a famous role he had in Germany 70 years ago:
Schacter served as an Army chaplain during World War II and was able to participate in the liberation of the Buchenwald Read more…
“In a lifetime of service at sea, Chaplain Karen Rector is clearly the best chaplain that I have sailed with,” said Capt. Daniel B. Uhls, USS Hue City commanding officer. “Chaplain of the year is a prestigious award that is in place to recognize the service’s finest, and I don’t believe anyone would have to look any further than Karen.”
A writer with Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa had a witty beginning to his story on the work of chaplains with their counterparts in the Kenyan military:
A Kenyan catholic priest, Anglican priest, and Muslim imam walk into a chapel.
This is not the start of a joke, but the beginning of a new partnership between Kenyan and U.S. military chaplains…Kenyan army Lt. Col. Alfayo Lelei, Kenyan air force Lt. Col. Lucas Gatobu and Kenyan army Maj. Mohamed Shukry [joined American chaplains] to discuss ways to better serve U.S. and Kenyan service members’ spiritual needs.
While chaplains protect the religious rights of those in the US military, some also serve “strategic” goals of the US military, engaging local religious leaders during conflicts and, as here, helping other nations in the development of their chaplaincies.
Dobbins Air Reserve Base, located in Marietta, Georgia, needed to modify its entry gate to comply with increased security measures. As a result, the 60-year-old base chapel was slated to be demolished.
The chapel played an important role for more than 60 years as a spiritual home to airmen and their families. It was deployed to Europe during World War II. After the war, it was acquired by the Georgia Air National Guard through private donation. Placed on then active-duty Dobbins Air Force Base, it was dedicated to veterans who served their country in World War II by Army Brig. Gen. J.H. O’Neil, Third Army chaplain.
O’Neil is known for writing Army Gen. George Patton’s prayer for Read more…
Kapaun will receive the award posthumously for his extraordinary heroism while serving with 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, during combat operations in Unsan, Korea, and as a prisoner of war, according to the White House announcement…
The commanding General of the unit in which Chaplain Kapaun served Read more…
Given recent news reports that have decried the presence of crosses on military chapels, it might be easy to think military chapels are bland, featureless office buildings designed to neutrally serve any function. While that may be the way things seem, it is the opposite of the history of military chapels.
Dover Air Force Base, most famously known for its service as the military’s “port mortuary,” dedicated a new chapel facility at the end of February:
A meditation pavilion is among its amenities, said Chaplain Lt. Col. Dennis Saucier. Those families can also make use of the new chapel, which has 20 pews stocked with hymnals and the Holy Bible, an altar, a wood-paneled reredos and tall, stained glass windows featuring four white doves in flight.
The chapel center also has an “all faiths” room, a neutral Read more…