The 243rd Chaplain's anniversary took place in Arlington National Cemetery and in the Memorial Chapel at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia, July 27, 2018.
"Today is about celebrating our heritage as Chaplains and the ministry we are able to do in the Army," said CH (Capt.) Karl Redelsheimer, Chaplain for Arlington National Cemetery. "Religion is important because it allows Soldiers to bounce back from things."
The Chaplain Corps is one of the oldest and smallest branches of the Army. The Corps started on July 29, 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized one chaplain for each regiment of the Continental Army. In addition to chaplains serving in Continental regiments, many militia regiments counted chaplains among their ranks.
The all-day event started with a wreath laying ceremony at Chaplain's Hill in Arlington National Cemetery, followed by a cake cutting ceremony, fellowship and reflection at Memorial Chapel.
Five chaplains have received the Medal of Honor for their bravery, the most recent award made posthumously to Chaplain (Maj.) Charles J. Watters in November 1969. Watters is buried on Chaplain's Hill in Arlington National Cemetery.
"I have been a part of the chaplain corps for 20 years and I love it," said Master Sgt. Yvette Edmonds, Arlington National Cemetery and Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region/U.S. Army Military District of Washington noncommissioned officer in charge. Serving the Soldiers, brining ministry to the Soldiers, that's what we do. Faith is a part of resilience. You have the physical and emotional parts but then you have your faith part. For a lot of folks, no matter what their faith, it plays the key element into how they thrive throughout their life in the military."
The U.S. Army Chaplains Corps provides religious support to America's Army. Chaplains advise commanders to ensure the 'free exercise' rights for all Soldiers are upheld - including those who hold no faith. Chaplains perform religious support activities according to their faith and conscience and provide religious support of other faith groups by coordinating with another chaplain or qualified individual to perform the support needed.