FORT CARSON, Colo. - Chaplain assistants can do it all, from knowing everything about religions in a country that their unit serves in to throwing an attacker to the ground to protect their chaplain.
Chaplain assistants from across Fort Carson conducted training, including religious research briefings and level one combatives during an all-day event March 31.
"We were given the task of researching a specific country and briefing it within an eight-minute window," said Sgt. Isaiah Mott, brigade chaplain assistant, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Inf. Div. "Next, we will conduct basic combatitive movements to familiarize ourselves with how to take down an enemy if confronted. We are critiqued in all areas to allow us to better assist our junior Soldiers, chaplains and our commanders."
The practice briefs are essential to informing the command of religious impacts on operations they are trying to conduct in countries where they deploy.
"There are certain religious observances, activities and even objects that are sacred to the locals of the countries we deploy to," said Mott. "The more our Soldiers know about these things, the better the relationship they can create with the local populace, which can help the operational outcome of their mission as well."
"This is great training for our new chaplain assistants who are not used to briefing their commands. Practicing this now will let them know what the command needs and what they need to provide," said Mott.
Every month the Joint Task Force Carson chaplain assistants conduct military occupational specialty and leader development training, said Master Sgt. Harry Slone Jr., 4th Inf. Div. master chaplain assistant.
"This training increases the proficiency in our chaplain assistants, making them well-rounded Soldiers, proficient in warrior tasks and drills, low density military occupational specialty skills and their leadership abilities," said Slone.
Unit ministry teams, consisting of chaplains and chaplain assistants, are seen as the subject matter experts in all areas of religious support, said Slone.
"One of our main corps responsibilities is for chaplains to advise the commander regarding the impact of religion on the unit and on the impact of operations during combat," said Slone. "The chaplain assistant serves this same function by briefi ng the command sergeant major at whatever level they serve."
Chaplain assistants bring many different types of skills to the fight.
"One of the responsibilities that chaplain assistants are [tasked] to perform in accordance with [Army Regulation] 165-1, Army Chaplain Corps Activities, is to brief the command on all issues of morals, morale and ethics," said Slone.
Combatives was introduced into the training because chaplains are non-combatants and the chaplain assistant is responsible for providing force protection for his chaplain.
"Being an expert in their assigned weapon is great but there may come a time when the weapon will not be an option and the chaplain assistant needs to be expertly trained in combatives," said Slone. "Chaplain assistants are truly fighting for two lives, not just their own."
Sloan said the chaplain assistant is the eyes and ears of the unit ministry team and has to know the Soldiers in the unit allowing for Soldiers to get help from the chaplain.
"A chaplain assistant that is embedded completely in his unit will know when a Soldier is having trouble or issues that are causing that Soldier to behave differently," said Slone. "They can talk to this individual and help them before the issues become overwhelming. Chaplain assistants are known as combat multipliers as we help Soldiers get help and then get back into the fight."