- Active Duty
- Army Reserve
As an Army Chaplain you will have the responsibility of caring for the spiritual well-being of Soldiers and their families. The Army Chaplaincy includes Ministers, Priests, Imams and Rabbis. Army Chaplains are the spiritual leaders of the Army and they perform religious ceremonies from births and baptisms, to confirmations and marriage, to illness and last rites.
As a Chaplain Officer, you will lead a Unit Ministry Team (UMT), which consists of you and a trained Chaplain Assistant. Since a Chaplain is a non-combatant, you do not carry a weapon at any time. Your Chaplain Assistant provides security for the UMT. They’re fully trained on the conduct of worship services, as well as Soldier-specific tasks.
The responsibilities of an Army Chaplain include:
- Commanding and controlling a Unit Ministry Team during combat and peacetime.
- Coordinating/directing a full program of religious ministries, including workshops, pastoral counseling, religious education and other activities.
- Developing doctrine, organizations and ceremonies for unique chaplain missions.
- Instructing chaplain skills to Chaplain Assistants
- Serving as spiritual advisor to other units, including Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve organizations.
To be an Officer in the Army Chaplain Corps, you must obtain an ecclesiastical endorsement from your faith group. This endorsement should certify that you are:
- A clergy person in your denomination or faith group.
- Qualified spiritually, morally, intellectually and emotionally to serve as a Chaplain in the Army.
- Sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel, their family members and civilians who work for the Army.
- Possess a baccalaureate degree of not less than 120 semester hours.
- Possess a master’s degree in divinity or a graduate degree in theological studies, which includes at least 72 hours.
Chaplains do not go through Basic Training. Instead, they attend the Chaplain Officer Basic Course (CHOBC), which is a 12-week course taught at Fort Jackson, S.C. It will provide you with an introduction to the non-combatant common core skills, Army writing and Chaplaincy-specific training. The Army will neither require nor allow you to bear arms as part of your military duties.
Being a leader in the Army requires certain qualities. A leader exhibits self-discipline, initiative, confidence and intelligence. They are physically fit and can perform under physical and mental pressures. Leaders make decisions quickly, always focusing on completing the mission successfully, and show respect for their subordinates and other military officers. Leaders lead from the front and adjust to environments that are always changing. They are judged by their ability to make decisions on their own and bear ultimate moral responsibility for those decisions.
Army Chaplains may continue to specialize and serve in the Chaplaincy at ever increasing levels of leadership and responsibility.