KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - The 21st Theater Sustainment Command Chaplains hosted the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps Anniversary Fun Run ‘22 to celebrate and honor the 247th birthday of the Chaplain Corps, July 29 on Vogelweh Air Base.
The Chaplain Corps was founded in 1775, before the United States declared independence as the Continental Army was being formed. In comparison to our country, the Chaplain Corps is older than the United States.
In every war America has been involved in, the Chaplain Corps has been there helping Soldiers in many different ways.
“We’d like to say we care for the soul of the Army, for Soldiers and their family members,” said U.S. Army Col. Stanton Trotter, command chaplain of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. “We’re constantly investing our time to take care of those who need it.”
Trotter, who helped organize the Chaplain Fun Run, said it was put together to honor those Chaplains who have had such a positive effect on their Soldiers and units.
“When I was a captain stationed at Fort Drum, New York, during the winter, my religious affairs non-commissioned officer and I decided to go on a road march with the Soldiers around four in the morning,” said Trotter. “We linked up with the next group that's coming through, and it's pitch black, and they say, ‘Hey, who is that?’ And I responded with, ‘I'm here to spend some time with you guys,' and the Soldier just said, ‘Wow, it's great to see that God showed up.'”
Stories like that show how Chaplains who are integrated with the units are truly there for the Soldiers to help them connect to God, and God to them. Soldiers not only go to Chaplains for religious help, but for all needs.
“I feel that we celebrate the Chaplain Corps because they have been there from the beginning,” said Staff Sgt. Requie Ivan San Pablo, senior vehicle driver for the commanding general and command team at the 21st TSC. “They’re always checking up on Soldiers, families and the organization as a whole to make sure that you’re in a good condition and to make sure that the mission gets accomplished.”
San Pablo, like many Soldiers, had experiences with Chaplains in his time of need and they have always been there to have his back.
“One time for some odd reason I felt really down and wasn’t in a good head space,” said San Pablo. “The Chaplain at the time asked me the simple question of ‘How are you doing?’ and it allowed me to let out what I was feeling inside, and it made me feel more comfortable and helped the stress go away.”
Today, the Army has roughly 1,300 active-duty Chaplains and 1,200 in its Reserve components who represent five major faith groups – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist – and more than 120 denominations, which gives Soldiers of all religions that choice of Chaplain to talk to.
“We've had Chaplains assigned down to the units for 247 years,” said Trotter. “It all started with General George Washington. He said, ‘We want a Chaplain in every regiment.’ So think about that for a second. We have Chaplains assigned to every unit, not like some of the other branches where they're actually assigned to a chapel and you have to go there to see them. In the Army, Chaplains are assigned to an actual unit and so you're going to see Chaplains at every formation at every echelon assigned there.”
Soldiers like San Pablo have chaplaincy resources available to utilize when needed. According to Trotter, Chaplains want to help, to be there for their Soldiers and to be of service to those in need.