By Sgt. Juan F. JimenezJuly 30, 2014
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Paratroopers and family members gathered at Sicily Drop Zone at Fort Bragg to celebrate the 239th anniversary of the Army's Chaplain Corps, July 24.
During the event hosted by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, family members viewed the preparations required for an airborne operation and enjoyed a picnic. A scheduled airborne operation was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Throughout the Army's history, the Chaplain Corps has provided ministry and counseling services to Soldiers where ever they serve. Since the corps was established on July 29, 1775, about 25,000 chaplains have served.
For one paratrooper at the drop zone, being part of tradition and a part of history is something he will never miss out on.
"I enjoy participating in the chaplain [corps] anniversary jumps," said Sgt. Brian P. Hamilton, chaplain assistant noncommissioned officer in charge for 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. "We don't get many jumps like these where paratroopers are relaxed and enjoying themselves."
Hamilton said participating in events like the chaplain's jump helps build friendships and esprit de corps among members of the corps.
Since the beginning of the Chaplain Corps, chaplains and chaplain assistants have performed their ministries in the most religiously diverse organization in the world. In today's Army, the Chaplain Corps has more than 2,700 chaplains serving, representing more than 100 different religious denominations within the corps.
Army chaplains have also served in more than 270 major wars and combat engagements, and as a result, more than 400 chaplains have laid down their lives in battle. Six chaplains have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
As Soldiers still deploy in support of contingency operations throughout the world, chaplains and chaplain assistants mobilize and provide Paratroopers the religious support and counseling needed to help them through their deployments.
"It's nice to see everyone from around Fort Bragg come out and support their chaplains and Paratroopers," said Sgt. Maj. Alvin J. Chaplain, regimental sergeant major of the Army's Chaplain Corps. "This jump represents tradition, esprit de corps and commitment to Paratroopers and their well-being."