CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait " Third Army celebrated the 236 year history of the Chaplain Corps July 29. The celebration included a scripture reading, speech about the history of the Chaplain Corps, a performance by the Camp Arifjan Gospel Choir, and a punch bowl ceremony.

July 29, 1775, the Chaplain Corps was officially recognized by the Continental Congress because of the importance of the religious welfare of the Army.

“The history of the Chaplain Corps goes back to the early days of the American Revolution, when chaplains volunteered their service,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) James Palmer, a native of Richmond Va., in his speech about the history of the Chaplain Corps.

After Palmer gave his speech, the Camp Arifjan Gospel Choir led by Staff Sgt. Marshel Riley, human resource specialist, 342nd Transportation Corps Detachment, 330th Battalion, 230th Brigade and New Orleans native, took the stage and serenaded the gathered servicemembers with two musical selections.

“Chaplains are a vital part of any command team,” Col. Robert Cheatham, Area Support Group - Kuwait commander, said in his opening remarks. “I’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to chaplains and chaplains’ assistants for all they do for our nation.”

After Cheatham’s opening remarks, all rose for the national anthem, which was followed by the invocation by Chaplain (Col.) Michael Strohm, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, command chaplain and Lawton, Okla. native.

Following the choir performance was a punch bowl ceremony in which a “spiritual drink” was mixed in front of the audience, accompanied by a narration explaining the symbolism of each ingredient.

“The first spiritual virtue is love; red cranberry represents this virtue,” said Staff Sgt. Ronald Clarke, chapel noncommissioned officer in charge, as the cranberry juice was added to the punch bowl.

Once the punch was completely mixed, the cake honoring the Chaplain Corps’ anniversary was cut, and both were served.

The Chaplain Corps has served proudly for 236 years and will continue to do so as long as the U.S. military is at war.

“The service of the Army Chaplain has always been three fold; to nurture the living, care for the wounded, and honor the dead,” Palmer added.

Third Army Chaplains are committed to shaping the future of the American Soldier, the strength of our nation.