GI JOE, Pass in Review! Jun 11, 2023 21:02:03 GMT -5
Post by codystarbuck on Jun 11, 2023 21:02:03 GMT -5
The actual Ft Wadsworth had housed the US Army Chaplain School, that was the name. It was moved and is now the US Army Institute for Religious Leadership, which is typical military speak for what everyone calls "the padre." The modern school is located at Fort Jackson, in Columbia, SC, as are the Air Force and Navy Chaplain Institutes.
I did a little looking around. They are actually call them Religious Affairs Specialists, which is an actual Military Occupational Specialty. They are enlisted personnel and go through an Advanced Individual Training. Since 1965, the RAS training has been conducted at the same facility as the Chaplains. They do provide some counseling services, as well as support to the Chaplain's functions.
It is not always made fully clear, by Hollywood, what the chaplain's role is. MASH did a reasonably good job of it. They don't just conduct religious services and confession; they also provide counseling services that aren't necessarily in relation to spiritual matters. It can have a spiritual approach, but, they are trained and qualified psychological counselors. They are a major component in mental health, as the right to see a chaplain cannot be infringed and everything discussed must be held in confidence. They are probably the key counseling avenue and the most accessible.
When I was working at COMDESRON 4 (Commander, Destroyer Squadron 4....the command staff that runs the squadron...I worked in the Material Office, helping to track and expedite repair parts for critical repairs, which we monitored and helped facilitate, with repair activities), there was also a Chaplain center, attached to the command. We had 4 chaplains, a Catholic chaplain, who was a Commander, a second Catholic chaplain, who was a lieutenant and just getting going, in the role, and 2 protestant denominational chaplains, one of whom was also their resident expert for Eastern Religions. The commander retired, while I was there and the lieutenant was coming in to replace him, as the Catholic representative, with a bit of overlap. I am an atheist, something I determined in high school; but, I did interact with one of the protestant chaplains (the Eastern Religion expert) quite a bit, though mostly just socializing. I never sought out counselling services with them, but we would have discussions about various topics, where rank wasn't a factor. It was good to have someone to talk to outside the hierarchy. He used to refer to himself as a "Zen Methodist" and had a pretty good sense of humor. I was in an odd position of working with more senior officers and then mostly chief petty officers; so, I was a little cut off from contemporaries, though I was only one degree in rank behind 3 of the officers. I could identify with the chaplain as another "misfit," since I was on extended temporary additional duty there (long story, fairly boring). Same with the medical corpsman, though he was a chief. We also had a doctor there, part of the time, though of the two we had, I was really only social with one. Her replacement had a bit of an attitude problem, which wasn't uncommon for the medical corps. The other doctor has previously worked in a correctional facility and didn't have the chip on her shoulder that the replacement did. We were all in support specialties, rather than warfare specialties, so we were kind of misfits.
The chaplain staff would conduct regular services on the ships, in port and make regular visits to the ships in the squadron, to provide onsite counseling or spiritual guidance, or whatever was needed. I had a lot more respect for them than the average minister. Actually, strike that. I have a lot of respect for actual ministers, versus evangelists and also church hierarchies and organizational bodies. Anyway, I found that military chaplains were less dogmatic and more open to other points of view, in discussion, on various topics, but, especially religion and philosophy. With civilian clergy, it varied greatly across denominations and even within. I grew up in a relatively undogmatic protestant denomination, so I tend to get along better with the more open minded in the field.
It was interesting, though, as during one Squadron Happy Hour gathering (they did this once a month, for the officers of the ships to mix with the staff officers and build relationships), I was in discussion with the Zen Methodist chaplain and the Catholic lieutenant, as well as the engineering lieutenant in my office and the Catholic chaplain started talking about the real problem the Catholic church was facing, in regards to sex offender priests and this was before major revelations came out in the media, by at least a couple of years. He spoke of how bad it was and how the church hierarchy was refusing to address it; so, I wasn't particularly shocked when newspaper and media accounts of priest abuse came out and exposes of how much the Church superiors knew. I suspect is was a real crisis of faith for him, seeing this evil within the organization and the unwillingness of the Church Authority to address it.
I am curious to see how the school might play into future stories, if at all, especially with what I know about the end of the first year (though I haven't read the storyline, yet).
If they had included a chaplain character on the team, I would have to thing they would have been called Sky Pilot.