Army Chaplains Corps
The Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) celebrates the birthdate of the United States Army Chaplain Corps. This group is older than the country itself! The Continental Congress established chaplains as an integral part of the United States Army on July 29th, 1775. Almost 300 Army Chaplains have died in battle, including every war and combat engagement since the Revolutionary War. From 1893 to 2013, nine chaplains have been honored with the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.
The most famous Army chaplains are the Four Chaplains, also known as the “Immortal Chaplains” or the “Dorchester Chaplains.” They were traveling on the U.S.S. Dorchester which carried almost a thousand Army troops in January 1943 when it was torpedoed by a German submarine. The chaplains helped men into the lifeboats and gave away their life preservers when the supply ran out. As the ship sank, the four men linked arms and sang hymns until they could be heard no more. The relatively new chaplains all held the rank of First Lieutenant. They included Methodist minister Reverend George L. Fox, Reform Rabbi Alexander D. Goode (PhD), Catholic priest Father John P. Washington, and Reformed Church in America minister Reverend Clark V. Poling. It was notable that the four all came from different backgrounds and religious traditions but were united in their care of their men’s physical and spiritual welfare.
The Four Chaplains were not eligible to receive the Medal of Honor, as they had not engaged the enemy, but Congress created an award specifically for them called the Four Chaplains Medal.
Today’s Chaplain Corps still guards the spiritual life of the Army’s soldiers, and currently, over 2,700 chaplains represent more than 140 spiritual traditions, including Abrahamic religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but also Buddhist and Hindu chaplains.
The VLB salutes all those who serve as Army chaplains. Their care for the welfare of their soldiers is commended by believers and non-believers alike.
The Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) is happy to provide any needed help for these American heroes. The mission for the VLB is “to ensure that we offer the very best package of Veterans benefits in the country and those of us who work for the VLB strive to meet those goals every day. For more than 70 years, we have had the honor to serve Veterans, Military Members and their families in Texas, and we look forward to keeping that promise in the years to come.” Call 1–800–252–8387, email VLBinfo@glo.texas.gov, or visit vlb.texas.gov to see the different benefits available.
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