More than 100 U.S. Army Chaplain Corps personnel and their families from the National Capital Region gathered at Arlington National Cemetery and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall July 28 to celebrate the 242nd Anniversary of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps.
"I feel in awe of the legacy that we are charged with, the legacy that we are given and the legacy that we're trying to live up to," said keynote speaker Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Paul K. Hurley, the 24th Chief of Chaplains for the U.S. Army. "It's important for us to always be reminded of what's most important. How many selfless acts of service have been completed over 242 years of chaplains and chaplain assistants taking care of Soldiers and families. That's exactly who we are and what we are."
The anniversary event, themed "Chaplain Corps Identity," included a commemoration ceremony at Chaplains Hill at Arlington National Cemetery, a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a cake-cutting and picnic lunch at Memorial Chapel on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
"The theme for this observation and celebration is Chaplain Corps Identity," said guest speaker retired Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Matthew A. Zimmerman Jr., the 18th Chief of Chaplains. "In that respect and regard, I think that our Chaplain Corps' mission is indeed one of legacy. While we have many specific chaplain job descriptions, it does not matter though how profuse, how profound even, those descriptions and actual work may be. They do not diminish nor do they ever make secondary the mission of the Chaplain Corps. And that of course you've heard of bringing God to men and women and men and women to God."
The Army Chaplain Corps was established July 29, 1775, by the Continental Congress who authorized pay for one chaplain for each regiment of the Army. Today's Chaplain Corps includes 3,000 Chaplains and 3,000 Chaplain Assistants, embedded at all echelons, in all three components of the Army, shoulder to shoulder with the other Soldiers whom they serve.
Chaplain Brig. Gen. Kenneth "Ed" Brandt, Deputy Chief of Chaplains, Army National Guard, gave the invocation at the beginning of the ceremony on Chaplains Hill.
Chaplains from four wars rest on Chaplains Hill in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery.
"In my role as an Arlington National Cemetery Chaplain I frequently march in procession past Chaplains Hill," said Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew L. Whitehead, Cemetery Chaplain. "The monuments there remind me that I stand on the shoulders of so many great chaplains who have come before me. This rich history inspires me to give my best for God and Country."
The U.S. Army Military District of Washington serves as the Army Forces Component and core staff element of Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region which conducts operations that deter, prevent and respond to threats aimed at the National Capital Region; and conducts world-class ceremonial musical and special events in support of our Nation's leadership.