Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center
Designs for what the combined services, Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center will look like when construction is complete.

By fiscal year 2010, Fort Jackson will be home to all chaplain schools in the armed forces.

A Base Realignment and Closure initiative mandates Navy and Air Force chaplain schools at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss., and Naval Station Newport, R.I., relocate to Fort Jackson beside the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School, forming the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center.

Training for Navy religious program specialists (enlisted) will also be moving from NAS Meridian.

Groundbreaking for buildings will begin April 9, and construction is expected to last about 18 months.

"The intent is to create a religious support center of excellence where ideas, training plans and professional development can be exchanged across military service departments," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Chris Wisdom, deputy commandant, USACHCS.

Each branch of service will have its own school training area and will continue specialized training for its particular needs.

"The separate but connected building is symbolic of the situation because one of the critical factors that distinguishes and influences a religious support task is the conditions under which it is performed," Wisdom said. "The conditions on a ship are different from those on a base, which are different from those in the field. Since each service has its own distinctive operational environment, the training will tend to reflect that."

Not all training will be exclusive, however. Certain areas of education transcend services and may be taught jointly.

Wisdom said part of the new construction plans include a 300-seat auditorium where classes common to all services can be taught.

Air Force Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Gary Brooks, USAF Chaplain Service action officer, has been on post since March 2006 assisting in the effort to get the Chaplaincy Center up and running.

"I've been working as part of a chaplain joint transition team with Army and Navy chaplain counterparts to plan relocation of the Air Force and Navy schools, to include chaplain assistants and navy religious program specialists," he said.

The end result, Brooks said, is that the new working relationship between the services will offer "new ways to improve interoperability of religious support to the warfighters."

Heath.Hamacher@jackson.army.mil

Page last updated Thu November 1st, 2007 at 14:57