By Mr. Mark Maricone (Fort Jackson)August 3, 2017
The air was unusually brisk for a Sunday morning in July. What constitutes a muggy South
Carolina morning was instead replaced with crisp, cool air and a rustling breeze. Not a cloud
dotted the sky and no bead of sweat dampened anyone's brow.
Despite this blessing of good weather, there was a weight of sadness in the air as parishioners
marched into Memorial Chapel for the last time.
The chapel is set for demolition as part of an Army directive to remove all World War II era
buildings on post. These buildings are deemed by the Army as not economical to maintain or to
make the necessary repairs for the buildings to meet Army standards.
In an effort to try and save the chapel, parishioners applied to get the building marked as
historical through the National Register of Historic buildings. But Memorial Chapel did not meet
the requirements for historical preservation either.
"Several buildings were submitted from Fort Jackson for historic property consideration," Henry
Howe said. "The blanket answer was that these buildings were renovated beyond what the
original design called for."
Vinyl siding was applied to the building along with other changes to the core structure, Howe
said. For these reasons the S.C. Department of History and Archives -- the department that
refers buildings to the register -- denied its claim for consideration as an historical building in a
"The bottom line is that it didn't hit the requirements to be deemed historical," Howe said.
The building, along with other World War II era structures, is also incurring large maintenance
costs for the Army.
According to the Directorate of Public Works, the amount of money spent on maintaining these
buildings is limited to $40 a square foot via regulation. Even for non World War II era wood
buildings it requires six to seven times that amount just to bring them up to standard.
"It's uneconomically repairable, not a historic landmark, does not meet our mission needs and
unfortunately -- as we fulfill our obligation as good stewards of government resources -- it has to
be demolished," said Col. Mark Shade Fort Jackson deputy commander.
Despite the outpouring of emotions, there was still a teaching moment to be made, and the
attending chaplains pounced on it. Retired Chaplain (Col.) Samuel Boone reflected this in his
"The original aged pews, some of which are still here, bear the scars of countless uniforms that
sat in them," Boone said. "But we remind ourselves that many things may pass away, but the
love of Jesus Christ will never forsake us."
Maj. Darrel Harlow-Curtis also presided over the service and imparted some advice as well.
"We don't need a building to worship God," Harlow-Curtis said. "This is just a transition."
Harlow-Curtis also reflected upon his time at BCT as well as in the Chaplain's school. He also
recalled the day he got the news that Memorial Chapel was to be decommissioned and
"I got an order that this chapel was to be decommissioned and just said, 'Well, time to follow
through,'" Harlow-Curtis said. "But then I came here, and I understood."
The chapel resonated with its parishioners and the chaplains that presided over the countless
sermons and services held within its old wooden walls. It still has that effect over its parish
today. Even though it is just a building as chaplain Harlow-Curtis said, it still holds a place in
Because of this strong bond the Army had symbolic wooden plaques made with the silhouette of
the chapel, with the Fort Jackson centennial logo, commemorating the chapel's 76 years of
service. As an added token of gratitude, the wooden plaques are made from Memorial Chapel
wood, so that parishioners can always have a piece of their beloved chapel with them.