Accept Challenge and Refuse To Fail

Army Reserve Chaplain

Chaplains are responsible for caring for the spiritual well-being of Soldiers and their Families. They provide advice in matters pertaining to religion, morals and morale.

Chaplains lead a Religious Support Team (RST), which consists of a Chaplain and a Religious Affairs Specialist (an enlisted Soldier trained to support Chaplains during their missions and everyday activities). They minister to Soldiers day to day, performing religious ceremonies, counseling Soldiers during times of crisis and providing a spiritual compass.

Chaplains are non-combatants and do not carry a weapon. Security is provided by the Religious Affairs Specialist.

Established by the 2nd Continental Congress on June 14, 1775 ...

Establishment of the Army Chaplaincy

The Continental Congress established Chaplains as an integral part of the Army of the United States on 29 July 1775. The Chaplaincy remains a relevant and integral part of the heritage and future of the Army. Chaplains have served in significant numbers from the earliest battles of the American War of Independence to the present. American Chaplains represent the unique commitment of the American social and religious culture that values freedom of conscience and spiritual choice as proclaimed in the founding documents.

The Establishment Clause

The Establishment Clause forbids any governmental authority from mandating a religion or way of prayer. In the religious setting of the military, Religious Support Team (RSTs) provide opportunities for Religious Support (worship services, religious classes, prayers, and so forth) for individuals from all religious backgrounds. Chaplains cooperate with each other without compromising their faith tradition or ecclesiastical endorsement requirements, to ensure the most comprehensive Religious Support opportunities possible within the unique military environment.

The Free Exercise Clause

The Free Exercise clause guarantees individuals the right to practice what their religion requires and conscience dictates. Soldiers, Family members, and authorized Department of Defense (DOD) civilians are entitled to Chaplain support. Chaplains are expected to advise the command on all matters pertaining to the free exercise of religion and to speak with a candor and urgency befitting the exercise of their religious duties. Chaplains assist the commander in providing for the accommodation of religious practices.

Religious Support is based on three basic core competencies:

  • Nurture the Living
  • Care for the Wounded
  • Honor the Fallen

  • The Army Chaplain Corps delivers Religious Support through two core capabilities.

    1) Religious Support Activities:

  • Religious Services: Conduct worship, funeral, and memorial services.

  • Rites, Sacraments, and Ordinances: Conduct marriages, burials, baptisms, confirmations, blessings, daily prayers, and other required religious ministrations.

  • Pastoral Care and Counseling: Conduct visitation, prayers, pastoral care and counseling, and religious encouragement to the Army family.

  • 2) Professional Military Religious Support Staff Advisor:

  • Professional Advice to the Commander and Staff: Support to the command on all matters of religion, morals, and morale as affected by religion; the impact of religion on military missions; command climate assessments, memorial ceremonies, and other ceremonies.

  • Management and Administration: Manage RST personnel, equipment, facilities, supplies, funds (APF and CTOF), and force structure.

  • Moral and Spiritual Support: Provide advice on moral leadership training (see para 9-13), and programs of spiritual development and sustainment (prayer breakfasts, spiritual fitness events and so forth).