Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center
The Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center (AFCC) is the center for training of United States military chaplains, located at Fort Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina. Co-located on the AFCC campus are: the United States Army Chaplain Center and School, the United States Naval Chaplaincy School and Center, and the United States Air Force Chaplain Corps College. The Center includes the "Joint Center of Excellence for Religious Training and Education."
Ground-breaking for the AFCC took place May 6, 2008, and the official dedication of the campus occurred on May 6, 2010.
- (1) Relocate to Fort Jackson, in Columbia, South Carolina, the location of the US Army Chaplain Center and School: the Naval Chaplains School from Newport, Rhode Island, the Religious Programs Specialist training from Meridian, Mississippi, and the Air Force Chaplain Service Institute from Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama;
- (2) Establish the Joint Center of Excellence for Religious Training and Education.
The decision to create the AFCC included a 11.6 million dollar construction plan for a building with 45,800 square feet (4,250 m2) of space, including a 300-seat auditorium.
- November 11, 2005 - BRAC Mandate
- June 1, 2007 - USA assumes AFFC Directorship
- May 6, 2008 - Ground breaking
- July 1, 2008 - AFCC Directorship transferred to USN
- July 1, 2009 - AFCC Directorship transferred to USAF
- January 2010 - Schools move into new facility
- January 2010 - First USN classes in new facility
- Jan 6, 2010 - First event in new facility: Interservice prayer
- January–April 2010 - Furnishings and AV/IT installed
- March 2010 - First USAF classes in new facility
- May 6, 2010 - AFCC, Air Force, Navy Dedication ceremonies
Mission and leadership
The Army, Navy, and Air Force schools are co-located on the AFCC campus, but their training programs for Chaplains, Chaplain Assistants and Religious Program Specialists are independent, and each has its own Commandant/Commanding Officer, faculty and staff. There is an overall Director and Senior Enlisted Advisor who deal with common issues affecting all schools, but each of the three schools maintains its own lines of authority and responsibility with the Chief of Chaplains and training leadership for its branch of the Armed Forces.
However, although each service school will train its chaplains, sharing the AFCC campus will allow for some joint classes and lectures, especially when guest lecturers in subjects like preaching—subjects that cross military service lines—visit the center.
The first AFCC director Air Force Chaplain Col. Steven Keith, said the directors of the individual schools that will share the AFCC campus worked to bring together elements with special meaning that could be shared. For example, the Center's hallways have stained glass from a closed Army chapel in New Jersey and a closed Air Force chapel in Germany.
Army Chaplain Center and School
The U.S. Army Chaplain School was created in 1917, to train civilian clergy for service as chaplains in World War I. The first session began March 3, 1918, at Fort Monroe, Virginia, based on a plan developed by Chaplain (MAJ) Aldred A. Pruden, approved by the War Department on February 9, 1918.
Before moving to its present location at Fort Jackson in 1996, the school has been located in areas including Camp Zachary Taylor (Kentucky), Camp Grant (Illinois), Fort Leavenworth (Kansas), Fort Benjamin Harrison (Indiana), Harvard University (Massachusetts), Fort Devens (Mass.), Fort Oglethorpe (Georgia), Carlisle Barracks (Pennsylvania), Fort Slocum (New York) (1951–62), Fort Hamilton (N.Y.) (1962–74), Fort Wadsworth (N.Y.) (1974–79), and Fort Monmouth (New Jersey) (1979–95).
In 1957, Army General Order No. 1-57, created the U.S. Army Chaplain Museum as a branch museum at Fort Slocum, New York, later moving along with the Chaplain Center and School to all other locations, including the current site at Fort Jackson.
The first Naval Chaplain School was created in February 1942 when civilian clergy, the majority of whom had no prior military experience, entered the Navy to serve during World War II. The school began at Naval Station Norfolk, Norfolk, Virginia, later moving to the campus of the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia, until its decommissioning November 15, 1945.
With the beginning of the Korean War in 1951, the school was reestablished, located in Newport, Rhode Island as part of the Naval Schools Command. When the Naval Officer Training Center was established July 15, 1971, later becoming the Naval Officer Training Command on July 1, 1974, the school continued to operate under that Center and Command, until the school became a separate shore activity in March 2007 under the Center for Service Support.
The Chaplain School ceased activities in Newport August 21, 2009 for its move to Fort Jackson, and its name was changed on October 1, 2009 to the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center (NCSC), to reflect the fact that the school would no longer only train chaplains, but would now include training for Religious Program Specialists, as well.
The first graduation of Navy chaplains at the AFCC took place November 13, 2009.
Air Force Chaplain Corps College
In July 1953 the Air Force was given the responsibility of training its own chaplains, and the United States Air Force Chaplains Course was established at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, under the overall Officer Basic Military Course In 1960 the USAF Chaplain School was officially established, remaining at Lackland AFB, where it remained until moving to Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama, in May 1966, where it would remain until its move to Fort Jackson.
Under the leadership of the Air University Command Chaplain, the USAF Chaplain Service Resource Board waqs formed in July 1959. It was originally named the USAF Chaplain Writers Board, preparing lectures and identifying audiovisual resources for the Air Force Moral Leadership Program.
The board's name was changed in 1976 to USAF Chaplain Resource Board, and in January 1989 to USAF Chaplain Service Resource Board, "to reflect the mission of providing resources to all chaplain service professionals: chaplain service support personnel (CSSP), religious education coordinators, laity, and chaplains." It is now known as the USAF Chaplain Service Institute Resource Division.
Air Force Chaplain Assistants began training at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in 1960, as "Welfare specialists," moving to Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi in 1960 at the same time the specialty name was changed to "Chaplain Service Personnel." In 1992, training moved to Maxwell AFB, where it became part of the "Ira C. Eaker Center for Professional Development," alongside the Air Force Chaplain School and Air Force Chaplain Service Institute.
- AFCC Dedication Bulletin, retrieved May 23, 2011.
- www.army.mil article: groundbreaking, retrieved May 23, 2011.
- www.usatoday.com, retrieved May 23, 2011.
- www.usachcs.army.mil, retrieved May 23, 2011.
- Chaplaincy History & Museum: History of Chaplain Corps. US Army Chaplain Corps (United States Army Chaplaincy official homepage). Retrieved 4 March 2010.
- www.jackson.army.mil, retrieved May 23, 2011.
- www.netc.navy.mil, retrieved May 23, 2011.]
- www.navy.mil, retrieved May 26, 2011.
- Air University catalog, retrieved May 23, 2011.
- Joint Publication 1-05: Religious Affairs in Joint Operations. 13 November 2009. United States Joint Forces Command (lead agent and JS doctrine sponsor for this publication: Office of Religious Affairs)
- Video: AFCC dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony video: Part I, PartII, Part III
- Library of Congress photo collection, link to Library of Congress WWII chaplain photo collection, many from Chaplain School when it was located at Ft Benjamin J. Harrison