By IMCOM-Europe Public AffairsMarch 19, 2009
(Editor's Note: Spc. Jason Boatwright, a soon-to-be noncommissioned officer, describes in his own words the duties of a chaplain assistant and what NCOs bring to that career field)
The role of noncommissioned officers in the chaplain assistant ranks:
"I truly believe they are the backbone of the NCO support channel. A noncommissioned officer's primary mission in our career field is to train junior Soldiers on what it means to be a chaplain assistant. It is imperative NCOs maintain that supervisory and mentoring role, ensuring junior Soldiers are properly trained and prepared for anything."
Reaction to earning NCO stripes:
"It will be an honor and a privilege when I finally become an NCO. In my short military career, I have worked with many senior NCOs who have truly led by example, showing me how to take care of Soldiers. I owe all of my success to the NCOs who have made it their personal goal to see that I excel and to achieve the goals that I strive for. In the very near future, such responsibility will be placed on me to do the same for others."
The role of a chaplain assistant:
"I assist the chaplain in all aspects of religious support. The Unit Ministry Team consists of only two people - the chaplain and chaplain assistant. As a team, we coordinate religious support for all religious faith groups. As a Soldier, it is my duty to provide security during UMT operations. A chaplain cannot bear arms; therefore, I provide protection on the battlefield. A chaplain assistant has to be the eyes and ears for the chaplain and focus solely on providing religious support regardless of the faith or the environment."
The connection between chaplain assistants and chaplains:
"Chaplains and chaplain assistants have a great rapport. Although their religious beliefs might differ, they clearly realize meeting their overall mission is what matters. As a team, they are in sync with what is expected and what is needed to support each other through adversities. That relationship is built on the seven Army values, which my chaplain and I live by on a daily basis."
A typical day for a chaplain assistant:
"I coordinate all religious programs, including retreats, chapel services, baptisms and prayer breakfasts. I assess the Soldiers' morale within my unit and update the chaplain on any concerns. I maintain the chapel daily; order supplies; schedule and coordinate events; and ensure overall maintenance of the facility. The decisions I make on a daily basis need to reflect the morals and values that I believe a chaplain assistant should possess."
Reason for becoming a chaplain assistant:
"My goal is to become a counselor; this is a great step in that direction. I also wanted to do something that brought fulfillment to my life, especially when considering the commitment that my fellow Soldiers are making in today's world."
Reason that a Soldier should consider joining the chaplain assistant ranks:
"There is no better job in the Army."