Chaplain corps maintains mission of faith

By Spc. Sarah Gossett, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Kentucky National Guard Chaplains and Religious Affairs Specialists gathered in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 6 for their Chaplaincy Annual Sustainment Training. The training opportunity brings all the Chaplain Corps together from across the commonwealth to refresh their education and focus of the chaplains’ mission. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Sarah Gossett)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Military chaplains have served alongside Soldiers as long as armies have existed, nurturing Soldiers’ spiritual needs, working to improve morale, caring for the wounded, and honoring the fallen. The U.S. Army Chaplain Corps, established July 29, 1775, is one of the oldest and smallest branches of the Army.

Though their field is one of the first, and may not change structure as often as other jobs in the military, the Chaplain Corps still trains like any other, excluding weaponry for the chaplains themselves.

The Kentucky National Guard Chaplains Corps met in Frankfort for the Chaplaincy Annual Sustainment Training (CAST) to refresh their education on the focus of the corps, Aug. 6.

This year’s CAST covered a variety of instruction crucial for the chaplains and their religious affairs specialists to best serve their commanders and the Soldiers in their units, including chaplain specific SHARP refresher training, Strong Bonds Program training and religious accommodation training.

In addition, this annual training gives the chaplains and religious affairs specialists the opportunity to learn from the experiences of one another.

“The most rewarding part of CAST for me was learning more about how the chaplain and myself can help Soldiers around the Kentucky Army National Guard,” said Sgt. Mark Mills, religious affairs specialist for the 198th Military Police Battalion, “It meant a great deal to me that TAG (The Adjutant General) came to the meeting and expressed his value of the Chaplain Corps. I truly believe that the spiritual health of our Soldiers is vital.”

Maj. Gen. Stephen Hogan, Adjutant General of Kentucky spoke to the corps during their training to relay his vision for the future of the Kentucky National Guard, and to share stories of his own experiences. He spoke highly of the importance of the Chaplains Corps, stating that spiritual strength is as important to readiness as physical and mental strength.

The motto of the Chaplains Corps, “Pro Deo et Patria” (“For God and Country”) rightly encompasses the motivation that drives our religious and spiritual guides.

“Some military families go through many struggles and hardships. As a chaplain, I am here to serve our Soldiers, to listen to their stories, and to share in their happiness and sadness,” said Chaplain (Col.) Yong Cho, the Kentucky National Guard state chaplain. “We encourage Soldiers’ morals, and lead them on a path to find their way to a good relationship with their creator, no matter what religion they practice.”

Chaplains are available to for counseling sessions pertaining to matters of religion, morale, life advice, or matters that you would not want to discuss with your command. Anything disclosed to your chaplain is kept confidential, unless you ask them to share.

“As chaplains, we are anywhere and everywhere that our Soldiers are,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Bill Draper, State Support Chaplain. “We are always available to help.”