The Feasibility of a Department of Defense Chaplaincy
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The consolidation of the Army, Navy, and Air Force chaplaincies into a Department of Defense Chaplaincy would seem on the surface to be a measure that would improve effectiveness and increase efficiency. A study of the history of the three chaplaincies reveals a completely different environment for ministry for the three chaplaincies. The Army chaplain works primarily in a land force medium of war, serving soldiers and their families who have developed a distinctive culture through 200 years of service. The Navy chaplain works primarily in a sea force which operates away from support and linkage with the American Society. The independence of sea command distinguishes the Navy. The Air Force chaplain prepares air-men to deploy to war and provides spiritual comfort when they return. He is a vital part of the support team that stays behind. Technology and equipment distinguish this service. Each chaplaincy identifies with the service personality of the particular device. The ministry of chaplains is enhanced by this identity. The formation of a Department of Defense Chaplaincy would remove chaplains from their service identity. They would become outsiders, unfamiliar with the mission, staff procedures, and personnel problems that are endemic to each service. Ministry would be diminished by this change.
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