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    NY Army Guard Chaplains make 245th birthday of their corps online

    New York Army National Guard marks Chaplains Corps Birthday

    Photo By Eric Durr | New York Army National Guard Chaplain ( Major ) James Kim, the NewYork State...... read more read more



    Story by Eric Durr 

    New York National Guard

    LATHAM, New York--The New York Army National Guard marked the 245th birthday of the Chaplain’s Corps on July 29 with a short ceremony broadcast on Facebook Live.

    Putting the short ceremony, which consisted of some remarks and a discussion of the history of the chaplaincy, online makes sense because of the COVID-19 gathering restrictions and because it lets more people take part across the state, said Chaplain (Major) James Kim, the Operational Chaplain for New York.

    The ceremony can be viewed here:

    The Continental Congress created the Continental Army on June 14, 1775. On July 29, 1775, at the request of General George Washington, the commander of this new Army, Congress created a chaplain’s corps to minister to the Soldiers.

    Each regiment was assigned a chaplain and while that chaplain was not a Soldier he was paid at the same rate as a captain.
    Chaplains provided religious services for the Soldiers, aided the wounded and have historically served a as a sounding board for commanders and Soldiers alike.

    Originally the chaplains were all Protestants, but as the nation changed there were Catholic chaplains and Jewish chaplains and African-American chaplains, Kim said. In 1979 women joined the chaplain’s corps.

    Since the Revolution chaplains have served with American Soldiers in every battle, Kim said in a short presentation.
    The New York Army National Guard currently has 26 chaplain’s slots but only 14 chaplains, Kim said.

    The New York Guard, the state’s self-defense force, has a small corps of four chaplains who help provide services to Soldiers, Kim said. Two of those chaplains-- Chaplain (Capt) John Muniz, and (Lt.) Gary Ferris—joined Kim for the July 29 observance.

    The New York Air National Guard has more than 20 chaplains serving its five air wings.

    Chaplains are always officer, Ferris said, but they are not commanders. They do not lead in battle.

    And chaplains are never addressed by their rank. They are called chaplain so that Soldiers of every rank feel comfortable speaking with them, he added.

    Chaplains have nurtured the living by providing religious services and a readiness to listen; honored the fallen; and cared for the wounded, Kim said.

    Caring for the wounded has often staying with wounded Soldiers when a unit had to retreat in the face of overwhelming enemy force.

    Nine chaplains have been awarded the Medal of Honor because of this tradition of service. Two were from New York.

    One of these was Francis B. Hall, a Plattsburgh, New York resident who served with the 16th New York Infantry during the Civil War and distinguished himself by evacuating the wounded under fire during the Battle of Chancellorsville.

    The other was Navy chaplain Vincent Capodanno, a Staten Island resident, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his selfless service with the Marine Corps in Vietnam in 1967 when he was killed trying to aid fallen Marines.

    The New York National Guard can claim the most decorated chaplain in the history of the chaplain’s corps: Father Francis Duffy, the chaplain of the 69th Infantry whose statue stands in Times Square.

    Duffy, a veteran of the Spanish-American War and World War I was awarded Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre by the French Army. He accompanied the stretcher-bearers under fire to retrieved wounded Soldiers and was portrayed in a 1940 movie by actor Pat O’Brien.

    Another New York Chaplain, Captain Clark V. Poling, who was a pastor in Schenectady, was one of the “Four Chaplains”—two Protestants, a Catholic priest and a Jewish rabbi—who gave up their life jackets to Soldiers when the troopship Dorchester was torpedoed in January 1943.
    The four men could not be awarded the Medal of Honor but they all received the Distinguished Service Cross.

    Brig. Gen. John Andonie, the Director of Joint Staff for the New York National Guard, said it’s important to remember the role that chaplains play in the military.

    The basic role of the chaplain hasn’t changed: take care of Soldiers, aid the wounded and honor those who have died, he said. But the mission is now more complex, Andonie said.

    Chaplains now have to deal with the hidden wounds of PTSD as well as wounds that can be seen and they are also caring for Soldiers families as well, Andonie said.

    “It’s important to take the time to remember the important role chaplains fill,” Andonie said.



    Date Taken: 07.29.2020
    Date Posted: 07.29.2020 14:17
    Story ID: 374823
    Location: LATHAM, NY, US 

    Web Views: 169
    Downloads: 0