The Voice for Chaplaincy - Chartered by Congress - Serving Since 1925
Weekly Newsgram - September 26th 2018
It was America's deadliest battle ever, with 26,000 U.S. soldiers killed, tens of thousands wounded and more ammunition fired than in the whole of the Civil War. The Meuse-Argonne offensive of 1918 was also a great American victory that helped bringing an end to World War One.
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the greatest American battle of the First World War. In six weeks the AEF lost 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded. It was a very complex operation involving a majority of the AEF ground forces fighting through rough, hilly terrain the German Army had spent four years fortifying. Its objective was the capture of the railroad hub at Sedan which would break the rail net supporting the German Army in France and Flanders and force the enemy's withdrawal from the occupied territories.
The bulk of the forces engaged in the initial onslaught had to be transferred from the St. Mihiel Salient ---- assaulted less than two weeks earlier ---- to a new jump off line north and northwest of Verdun. This new section of the front extended thirty miles east to west . The reshifting of forces in such a short period of time was one of the great accomplishments of the Great War. These logistics were planned and directed by Col. George C. Marshall establishing his reputation and preparing him to lead -- in the distant future --- American forces to victory in the Second World War.
During the war, chaplains often found themselves under fire or dealing with casualties far behind the front lines. This was due to the nature of an "industrial" war, in particular the range and effectiveness of modern Artillery.
Twenty-three U.S. army chaplains died during World War I. Several are buried at the
Meuse-Argonne cemetery. Many demonstrated tremendous bravery under fire administering last rites to fallen soldiers, oblivious to the fire around them, or dashing out into the open to
rescue the wounded without regard for their own lives. At the Meuse-Argonne, the Reverend Ben Lacy, Jr. called in artillery fire to stop a German attack and earned the nickname "The Fighting Chaplain." Go here for an article which examines the frontline experiences of
several of these courageous chaplains.
A remarkably energizing experience is to be with other chaplains, especially in a conference or retreat setting. This week I am at the Episcopal Bishop for the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries (AFFM) Training Conference at the San Damiano Retreat and Conference Center in Danville, California, near Oakland.
This is the largest gathering of Episcopal priests serving in military and federal chaplaincies in quite a few years, and is fortunate to have the Bishop for AFFM, The Rt Rev Carl Wright, Chaplain, LtCol, US Air Force, retired, leading it with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, in attendance as well.
Many will remember Bp. Curry as the preacher for Prince Harry and Megan Markle's wedding, and his enthusiasm is genuine. Having him present with chaplains- who are in some traditions marginalized as not being in the mainstream of parish ministry- is remarkably energizing as he listens to and engages the chaplains and family members who are present.
An especially delightful experience has been having the opportunity to meet CH(MAJ) Andrea Baker, this year's Army Reserve Distinguished Chaplain of the Year. A great experience to be in the midst of such professionals.
In a similar vein, I know first hand that some of you have been very active in Hurricane Florence relief efforts the past two weeks. If you could email some of the things that you have seen and done, we will look at putting those in the next few Newsgrams and/or the next MCA Journal.
For some of you that has been chaplaincy work with the North and South Carolina State Guard,with the American Red Cross, or as members of denominational response teams. Others of you who are still serving via your role as a Reserve or Guard Component chaplain.
I know that there are remarkable stories to be told, and we certainly want to capture as many of those as possible. It is also my prayer that those of you who live in the areas that were struck by Florence are safe, and are finding a way to rebuild spiritually as well as physically.
In an administrative note, we now have established a link for the hotel registration for the National Institute from 5 thru 7 November. That information is below. This should be an exciting conference for all of us, and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our signature conference and awards dinner.
MCA National Institute and Annual Meeting 2018
Chaplaincy in a Post Truth World
November 5, 6 and 7, 2018
Sheraton Pentagon City, 900 S Omre Street, Arlington VA
November 5th -
National Executive Committee Meeting all day
Member Reception 1800
November 6th -
Optional Seminars - 0900 - 1200
Sustaining Members Luncheon - 1230 - 1330
Plenary Presentations 1330 - 1700
Awards Banquet 1800 - 2100
November 7th -
Memorial Service - 0900
Annual Meeting - 1030
Key Note Address - 1100A
Meeting registration form on the MCA website soon
Note: the United States Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association will be meeting at the Sheraton Pentagon City immediately following our meeting - for more see their website here
MCA Hotel Registration
Soldiers who obliterate enemy fighters with drones will be guided on the morality of their actions by specially trained army chaplains
- Chaplains will spend year studying masters degree in ethics at Cardiff University
- Will then instruct officers about ethics of killing from thousands of miles away
- Officials are also concerned about emotional trauma suffered by drone pilots
Pilots who obliterate enemy fighters with drones will be guided on the morality of their actions by specially trained army chaplains, it has emerged.
Chaplains will spend one year studying a masters degree in ethics at Cardiff University so they can instruct officers on the moral dilemmas involved in killing an enemy from
thousands of miles away.
Officials have long been concerned about the emotional trauma suffered by drone pilots, as well as the risk they will be more likely to use deadly force if the confrontation is being played out on a computer screen.
'It's very different in asymmetric warfare when people are going to work flying drones and then going back to their families in the evening,' chaplain-general Reverend David Coulter told
'They're not deploying overseas and disappearing for months on end. So that brings a very interesting dynamic pastorally as well as professionally.'
RAF Reaper drones are involved in combat in Mosul, Raqqa and Homes and are operated by pilots in Waddington, Lincolnshire, and the United States.
They are able to deliver 500lb bombs and laser-guided Hellfire missiles with a simple on-screen direction from more than 7,000 miles away.
The strikes often require approval from senior officers, who take into account the risk of killing civilians.
An Exhibit Honoring the Service and Heroism of U. S. Military Chaplains World War I - Present
In the words of President Harry S. Truman, "Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices."
The exhibit, "Faith and Courage", recognizes the contributions of a special group of veterans whose story is rarely told, U.S. Military Chaplains. Chaplains' dedicated service to those who go into harm's way for our country, their humble self-sacrifice, and their common, but little-known acts of heroism exemplify personal values, traits, and traditions that are of unquestionable benefit to any society. This exhibit honors these exceptional individuals and attempts to extend the value of their service and sacrifice by keeping their memories alive as an example for later generations.
This presentation of Chaplain stories includes text and photographs from World War I, World War II, The Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Much of the information was collected with the help of the Army Chaplain Museum and the Navy Chaplain Archives. The exhibit is an ongoing project.
"Faith and Courage", the exhibit at Washington National Cathedral for the 2004 opening of the World War II Memorial, was an expansion of the WWII section of this exhibit. The opening service for the dedication of the memorial was held at the cathedral with the chiefs of all the U. S. Military Chaplain Corps in attendance.
The exhibit has received awards and recognition from the Tennessee Association of Museums, the Army Chaplain Corps and Navy Chaplain Corps Chiefs of Chaplains.
"Faith and Courage" has been featured at the Celebrate Freedom Festival in Pigeon Forge, TN; the American Museum of Science & Energy in Oak Ridge, TN; the Army Chaplain Corps at Fort Bragg, NC; the Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge,TN; the Remembering WWII event in Linden, TN; the 35th Anniversary Salute to Veterans at the Parthenon in Nashville, TN; and a number of other public venues. The exhibit was specially requested for a special
Congressional event honoring World War II veterans. The exhibit is based at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation in Sevierville. A traveling version is now available for showings in other locations.
The exhibit was developed and designed by Tom Walker, former exhibit designer for the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN. The former Knoxville native is now based in the Great Smoky Mountains area of Tennessee, where he participates in exhibit development for the Tennessee Museum of Aviation, WonderWorks, and other museums and attractions.
If you missed the September 19th
edition of the Newsgram
SUPPORTING CHAPLAINCY IN AND OUT OF UNIFORM: Active, Retired and Former Chaplains of the
United States Army,
United States Navy,
United States Air Force, Department of
Veterans Affairs, and
Civil Air Patrol
AND THOSE THEY SERVE: military members, veterans, and their families
at home and around the world
The Military Chaplains Association of the USA