Chaplain Assistant

Chaplain Assistant

In the US Army Chaplain Corps, Chaplain Assistants provide support to Chaplains. A Chaplain Assistant is part of the Unit Ministry Team (UMT) and supports UMT programs including worship services. Additionally, since Chaplains are non-combatants, the Chaplain Assistant provides force protection for Chaplains in combat environments.



Regarding the centennial of Army chaplain assistants, see footnote.[1]

The MOS was established on December 28, 1909, pursuant to General Orders No. 253.[2]


Duties performed by the Chaplain Assistant include:

  • Coordinating Unit Ministry Team activities
  • Maintaining physical security of Unit Ministry Team facilities/equipment
  • Safeguarding privileged communications and offerings
  • Arranging religious retreats and memorial ceremonies
  • Supporting the Unit Ministry Team readiness program
  • Maintaining chaplain vestments and religious items
  • Ensure worshippers are comfortable in their religious surroundings

Essentially, a Chaplain Assistant, or 56M (in the US Army), is the "how" in religious accommodation in both a peacetime setting as well as in a combat environment. In a combat environment, however, the Chaplain Assistant's job becomes much more vital to the needs in the Army. The Chaplain himself/herself is not a combatant, meaning s/he is restricted from bearing arms. The Chaplain Assistant, as the only combatant in the UMT,[3] is to apply force protection. He does this because of the vital role of the Chaplain in a combat environment: the Chaplain is to support not only the religious welfare of the unit, but also the overall morale of the troops, which is a key issue in any combat environment.


See footnote[4]

Army Chaplain Assistants begin their training after successful completion of Army Basic Combat Training, which lasts 10 weeks. 56M AIT (Advanced Individual Training) lasts 7 weeks in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, at USACHCS (United States Army Chaplain Center and School).

U.S. Military Academy

For chaplain assistants at USMA, see footnote.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Stevens, Larry (U.S. Army Forces Command HQ) (January 12, 2010). "Chaplain Corps celebrates centennial of enlisted assistant support". Retrieved 2010-03-05. 
  2. ^ Go to Chaplaincy History & Museum and scroll down to the section entitled "The Chaplain Assistant". US Army Chaplain Corps (United States Army Chaplaincy official homepage). Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  3. ^ In July 2010, a chaplain's assistant — Staff Sgt. Christopher Stout, of Worthville, Kentucky — was killed during the Afghanistan War. "Army: Chaplain is 1st killed in action since '70: Captain based at Fort Carson, Colo., had hitched ride on supply convoy". NBC News ( September 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  4. ^ Proponency (United States Army Chaplaincy official homepage). Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  5. ^ Go to Office of the USMA Chaplain and click on "Chaplain Assistants" in left-hand column. USMA website. Retrieved 2010-03-04.

External links

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