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Dan Gilson, (left) United States Army Garrison, Fort Wainwright Anti-terrorism officer and grill-master for the Garrison Chaplain's Picnic at Glass Park, July 6, shows the ingredients in a bottle of his home-made sauce to Col. Maria Summers, Medical Department Activity-Alaska, deputy commander for Nursing and Support, Bassett Army Community Hospital. The U.S. Army Chaplain Corps is celebrating 237-years of service to U.S. Soldiers and Family members. (Photo by Allen Shaw, Fort Wainwright PAO)

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- (July 12, 2012) All United States Army Soldiers raise their right hands and pledge selfless-service. Some Soldiers take it to a whole other level. The U.S. Army Chaplaincy is one of the oldest branches of the Army and they are celebrating 237-years of service this month.

More than 150 Soldiers, Family members and Department of Defense civilians gathered at Glass Park, July 6 for a patriotic and spiritual good-time barbeque with members of the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Wainwright Chaplain Corps.

One of the Soldiers attending was Col. Maria Summers, Medical Department Activity-Alaska, deputy commander for Nursing and Support Services at Bassett Army Community Hospital. "When I arrived at Bassett the first person I asked to meet was the chaplain," she said. "In a hospital setting, caregivers take on the burdens of others daily and we go to the chaplain for support. Chaplain Moye invited me to the picnic because he knows my respect for chaplains. I have 20 years in the Army and they are most often the people I choose to go to when I need encouragement or an ear for listening. They are just so joyful."

On April 19, 1775, Chaplain William Emerson, stood with the militia at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, praying for and encouraging them in battle. On July 29, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized pay for one chaplain for each regiment of the Army. Since that time, it is said approximately 25,000 Army chaplains have served as religious and spiritual leaders for 25 million Soldiers and their Families.

According to a report from www.army.mil Army chaplains and chaplain assistants perform their ministries in the most religiously diverse organization in the world. They serve at military installations, with deployed combat units, at service schools and military hospitals.

Always present with their Soldiers in war and in peace, Army chaplains have served in more than 270 major wars and combat engagements. Some 400 Army chaplains have laid down their lives in battle. Six have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Their love of God, country and the American Soldier has been a beacon of light and a message of hope for all those who have served our nation.
Currently, over 2,700 chaplains are serving the total Army representing over 130 different religious organizations. More than 900 chaplains and chaplain assistants are mobilized or deployed in support of contingency operations throughout the world.

Page last updated Thu July 12th, 2012 at 14:44