Story by Sgt. Melissa N. Lessard, III Corps Public Affairs
Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Angela Holtby
Religious Affairs Specialist and Chaplains from around III Corps and Fort Hood celebrated the 112th anniversary of the enlisted MOS 56M on Dec. 16.
The Anniversary dates is officially Dec. 28 but with the holidays coming up they got an early start.
“We do something that no one else in the Army can,” said Sgt. Maj. Edrena Roberts, III Corps and Fort Hood Command Chaplin Sgt. Maj. “The religious affairs specialist cares for the religious or spiritual needs of the Soldiers while providing invaluable information on how religion affects military operations.”
A couple of Soldiers who participated have unique background on how they started out in the MOS, and what it means to them to serve.
PV2 Jada McCoy, a native of Fairview Heights, Illinois, and a religious affairs specialist with Fort Hood Garrison command, has only been with the unit a few months. Her journey into the job is not the typical story. She originally joined the Army to work in the medical field. Due to unforeseen events she ended up choosing her current job.
She said she struggled with the decision through boot camp and her schooling.
“I actually love my job now,” she said. “I personally help the retirees, civilians, and dependents get connected with the food pantry if they cannot afford food.”
McCoy also has other responsibilities with her job such as reserving the chapel, taking care of vehicles, and ensuring the building is in good condition.
“My job is important in the Army because we are there to help support the Soldiers when they don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else,” McCoy said.
As Soldier go to their chaplains and religious affairs assistants for help when they are in need, Roberts joined the job in a similar state, needing help and wanting to give back.
“I was born into nothing, I was starving and homeless,” she said. “I felt it was my duty to pay the kindness forward. My service in the Chaplain Corps in my gratitude.”
Her service is to take care of Soldiers and she has been doing just that for 19 years.
“Taking care of Soldiers is what we do,” Roberts said. “We nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the fallen.”
Every Army MOS comes with its joys and challenges. The challenge of this one, Roberts said, is providing religious support, strengthening spiritual resiliency for so many unique Soldiers with so few in the career field.
“The benefit to the troops as stated by the 15th Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. George C. Marshall, ‘The Soldier’s heart, the Soldier’s Spirit, the Soldier’s Soul are everything,’” said Roberts. “’Unless a Soldier’s Soul sustains him, he cannot be relied on and will fail himself and his commander in the end.’”
The religious affairs specialist MOS is always looking for Soldier with high moral character. If you are interested in joining, Roberts recommends speaking with a senior non-commissioned officer in the Chaplain Corps for an interview to begin the process.
For anyone interested in converting to the MOS please see your local career counselor. Anyone who has not joined yet and is interested in the field please go to https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/career-match/support-logistics/admin-financial-support/56m-religious-affairs-specialist.html