Army Chaplain Corps 235th Anniversary

What is it'

U.S. Army Chaplaincy, one of the oldest branches of the Army, is 235 years old.

What has the Army done'

On April 19, 1775, Chaplain William Emerson, stood with the militia at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, praying for and encouraging them in battle. Then on July 29, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized pay for one chaplain for each regiment of the Army. Since that time, approximately 25,000 Army chaplains have served as religious and spiritual leaders for 25 million Soldiers and their families.

From military installations to deployed combat units and from service schools to military hospitals, Army chaplains and chaplain assistants have performed their ministries in the most religiously diverse organization in the world.

Always present with their Soldiers in war and in peace, Army chaplains have served in more than 270 major wars and combat engagements. Some 400 Army chaplains have laid down their lives in battle. Six have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Their love of God, country and the American Soldier has been a beacon of light and a message of hope for all those who have served our nation.

Currently, over 2,700 chaplains are serving the total Army representing over 130 different religious organizations. Over 900 chaplains and chaplain assistants are mobilized or deployed in support of contingency operations throughout the world.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future'

Chaplains continue to be a safe, confidential source of help and counsel immediately available within a Soldier's own unit. Chapel centers and programs produce spiritually vibrant communities able to withstand the rigors of a compressed deployment cycle. The chaplain-led Strong Bonds program for commanders continues to train our Army families to remain resilient. A study by the National Institute of Mental Health is showing increased marriage satisfaction and a two thirds divorce reduction after attending just one event. Finally, the Chaplain Corps is working with the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program to increase the spiritual fitness of your Soldiers.

Why is this important to the Army'

Nearly nine years of combat have stressed our Soldiers and families. As Chaplain Carl Hudson accompanied the Soldiers of Task Force Smith in Korea 60 years ago, your chaplains will continue to accompany you every step of the way for religious support, counsel and spiritual programs.

Resources:

Chaplain News and Information

Strong Bonds

STAND-TO! edition, Oct. 27, 2009: Strong Bonds Program

Related article: Resiliency services work to combat suicides with prevention programs