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Army Chaplain Corps celebrates 239 years

By Jessica Healey | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | July 29, 2014

For Fort Riley chaplains and chaplain assistants, the morning of July 16 started out with a run through Main Post.

Afterwards the group, their families and a few civilians who work in Religious Support Services celebrated the 239th anniversary of the Army Chaplain’s Corps with an organizational day.

“We are there during all phases of Soldiers’ and families’ lives – from birth, all the way through death,” said Chaplain (Lt.Col.) Louis DelTufo, 1st Infantry Division Chaplain. “We celebrate with the Soldiers, and we grieve with the Soldiers. We’re always there as a constant reminder that there is something more beyond what we can see, touch and feel. We have hope in something that’s bigger than that. That is what the Chaplain Corps does; we bring hope.”

The Chaplain Corps was founded on July 29, 1775, even before the Infantry Corps was founded. Chaplains are a unique corps in the Army for several reasons. Unlike most other positions in the Army, only one chaplain is assigned to each unit, usually battalion level being the lowest.

“No one can just come in and do what we do,” said Master Sgt. Dialetta Taylor, 1st Inf. Div. chaplain assistant. “We’re providing that religious support and giving that counsel; everyone in that unit can’t do that, and so I like that about us.”

That counseling also is confidential. Soldiers who talk to chaplains know what they say won’t get reported to the chain of command or anywhere else unless the situation is dire.

“I can be a trusted confidant who Soldiers can talk to about anything that’s going on in their lives,” DelTufo said. “I’m able to help Soldiers work through those problems without having to release that confidentiality.”

When Soldiers are struggling, they talk to a chaplain because they know that’s the person in the command who isn’t going to judge them, he added.

Throughout the Chaplain Corps, chaplains do not carry weapons, but their assistants do.

“You really have to rely on your chaplain assistant to be able to provide that physical security protection because that’s what they’re there for, is to look out for you, but you also have to rely on the Soldiers on your right and your left,” DelTufo said.

Following an awards ceremony, a barbecue lunch and cake was served, with the oldest and youngest members of the team cutting the cake.

Chaplain (Col.) Harry Rauch, garrison chaplain, recapped the year for religious services at Fort Riley.

The biggest accomplishment, he said, has been the opening of the new Victory Chapel near the Colyer Forsyth community.

He also acknowledged the chaplains that have deployed in the past year.

“Thank you all for your service and doing us proud, and getting the word out – bringing God to Soldiers and Soldiers to God. 
Tag Chaplain   Tag Religious Support