Talk:United States Navy Chaplain Corps

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There's an error here I think, there are currently no Hindu-endorsed chaplains in the US Armed Forces. Deepdesert (talk) 03:19, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

There is an Active Duty Hindu chaplain (a female) in the Navy at this time. I met here at a conference, but can't remember her name off hand. USMC Padre (talk)

Hi USMC Padre! I wonder if that was me...I am Buddhist not Hindu! Currently the Hindus do not have an endorser, although I believe the Hindu-American Foundation is considering to become one! --Deepdesert (talk) 16:11, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

The Chaplain Corps consists of clergy endorsed from ecclesiastical bodies, providing assistance for all sailors. Navy Chaplains come from a variety of religious backgrounds including, but not limited to: Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu.

I believe the intention of the statement is to reflect that chaplains may represent any religion that is approved by the US and needful of representation in the military. Perhaps it will be better to use a conditional statement "Navy Chaplains may come from...". (Goleson (talk) 19:17, 25 February 2008 (UTC))

Quick note: I think it's important to avoid stating (or thinking) that any religion at all is "approved by the US," since this would be a clear violation of the prohibition of "government entanglement." In terms of military chaplains, DOD approves specific "endorsing agencies" that represent one or more religious bodies. It's a subtle but important distinction, I think, since neither the government as a whole nor the U.S. military can decide which religions to "approve" and which not to approve. NearTheZoo (talk) 16:06, 22 May 2011 (UTC)


The article mentions a list of 100 recognized sending denominations. Can you link to this list? I am wondering how a denomination qualifies to get on it--i.e. if I am a clergy of some unrecognized religion, how hard it is to get the military to accept it. Thanks! --Zla'od (Not registered)

Endorsing Agent[edit]

Every chaplain in the military and other federal agencies such as the Veterans Administration (VA) or federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) must be approved or "endorsed" by a recognized endorsing agent. The key to entering federal service as a chaplain is to find an agent that is sympathetic to one's beliefs.

Large denominations generally have a full time endorsing agent, usually a retired chaplain, who serves as the go between for chaplain candidates and the branch of service or agency the chaplain desires to enter. For smaller groups a single endorsing agent may represent several small denominations and/or independent churches. For years the National Association of Evangelicals served as the endorsing agency for a flock of small evangelical faith groups. Muslim chaplains are represented by a national endorsing agent. Roman Catholics are endorsed by the Military Ordinariate in Washington DC. Similar organizations represent most faith groups.

There are endorsing agents who broker their services for non-aligned individual chaplains but who have diminished standards and for a fee (perhaps monthly tithes) will attempt to place individuals in federal service. Generally, these agents have a low reputation and even when accepted, the chaplain is at a disadvantage for promotion and assignment and must overcome a stigma from association.

It is not uncommon for a chaplain to change endorsing agents while in federal service. This may be the result of doctrinal change, post chaplaincy opportunities or to avoid disciplinary action. In the latter case if a chaplain faces losing their endorsement for service they may scramble to find a new endorser. Since most of the endorsing agents belong to a national association and are on speaking terms this can be tricky. Goleson 13:05, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

RE: Question[edit]

The Chaplain Corps itself reserves the right to recognize religious clerics. For example, the Chaplain Corps still does not recognize Wicca as a religion. For example, there are more Wiccans than Muslims in the US military, but there are Muslim chaplains. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Redjoker01 (talkcontribs).

Actually the various Military Chaplain Corps (each branch has its own) do apparently recognize Wicca (e.g., they provide places to worship, etc). They don't apparently recognize an endorsing agent for them yet hence a Wiccan chaplain would have trouble joining.[1] If the Unitarian Universalists have an endorsing agency which I think they do, that might be a possible route (though the chaplain would be listed as UU not Wiccan). Note what the federal government requires can be different from what the state governments require (Wisconsin prison system has hired a Wiccan chaplain, they don't require an endorser). --Erp 19:35, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Comment on above[edit]

Thank you all for this information. This is important enough that I think it should be worked into the article somehow. (Maybe under "military chaplain endorsing agent" or something like that?)

Do you have any idea HOW all these denominations manage to apply to become endorsers in the first place? For instance, how did that Japanese Buddhist group do it? Is there a form? Did the military just pick the most normal-looking group? (Buddhist "Churches" of America must have sounded very reassuring.) Is there a minumum size limit--i.e. they only allow the larger groups to endorse chaplains?

Again, it would be useful to see the actual list (of endorsing agents / recognized religious groups).

Thanks again! --Zla'od

Please check the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces (NCMAF) web site <> for information on endorsing agencies. (Goleson (talk) 19:32, 25 February 2008 (UTC))

Clarify details of Klingenschmitt Court-Martial[edit]

Not much experience at editing Wikipedia, but as a Navy Chaplain, I want to STRONGLY recommend removing the "where he prayed 'in Jesus' name'" part from the details of the Klingenschmitt Court-martial. It is irrelevent, and misleading. The fact that he prayed "in Jesus' name" at the protest had absolutely nothing to do with his court-martial.

He could have gone up to the microphone and said, "Woozle-Wuzzle" or danced the hoochie koo for all anyone cared - his court-martial was for attending and participating in a protest IN UNIFORM (which I believe every officer in the military knows is illegal for us to do), after he was ordered, in writing, not to do so.

The protest itself was related to his complaint of being prohibited from praying in Jesus' name, but the fact he prayed in Jesus name at said protest is irrelevent. The fact he participated in a protest in uniform, directly against written orders, is what his court-martial was for. Keeping the "where he prayed 'in Jesus' name'" is terribly misleading, as it makes it sound like the use of those words was the basis, at least in part, for his discipline. But it would be just as accurate to say:

In September 2006 Chaplain Lt. Gordon James Klingenschmitt was reprimanded and fined $3000 for disobeying an order not to wear his military uniform at a protest where he prayed in English.

Irrelevent, and misleading, no?

How about, just "...Klingenschmitt was reprimanded and fined $3000 for disobeying an order not to wear his military uniform at a protest."


Concur! It appears that someone has already edited the entry to reflect facts. (Goleson (talk) 18:42, 25 February 2008 (UTC)) (talk) 00:58, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

I changed the word "dismissed" which is a very specific legal term under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) Title 10 USC. Only officers can be dismissed and only as a punitive discharge from a General Court Martial. Klingenschmitt was only convicted at a Special Court Martial, which does not have the authority to discharge convicted officers (though a Special Court Martial can punitively discharge convicted enlisted personnel with a Bad Conduct Discharge). The word that I chose for accuracy's sake is "released." Klingenschmitt was released from Active Duty administratively, not punitively. These are all very specific, legal terms that have an enormous amount of meaning behind them. It is better to use the correct terminology so as to not unintentionally mislead the casual reader. USMC Padre (talk) 04:57, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I would like to question the citation of World Net Daily, is this really a good source? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:33, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Info about the Chaplain Corps[edit]

I think it would be interesting to list approximately how many chaplains are in the Navy. Also, is there at least one chaplain on each ship? I am sure carriers have multiple chaplains. If not, what type of ships do and do not have their own chaplains? --rogerd (talk) 16:54, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Congress sets a personnel end strength that determines the number of chaplains. My information is dated but the CHC end strength is approximately 1000 to serve the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine Academy. Not all ships have a chaplain. Typically, destroyers and submarines do not have a chaplain assigned but will have a chaplain assigned at the squadron level, or from a chaplain pool who will circuit ride the small boys. There may or may not be a formula to determine the number of personnel assigned to a unit to justify funding of a chaplain billet, but it seems that somewhere around 600-800 personnel will merit a billet. Factors such as funding, nature of the duty, location of the unit and more drive the staffing. A somewhat isolated unit would probably be staffed at a lower personnel number. Aircraft carriers would generally have three billets, but they have sailed with four chaplains. Air squadrons do not have chaplains, therefore a deployed carrier will be supporting not only the ship's company but the embarked air wing. On deployment the carrier's chaplains will make the rounds of the smaller ships sans chaplain to provide religious services. Deploying units always get special consideration over shore stations for chaplain coverage. (Goleson (talk) 21:49, 21 April 2008 (UTC))

Great information. Is there any way we can get sources for this information so it can be included in the article? --rogerd (talk) 15:28, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

My comments were from my dated general experience, hence the attached disclaimers. One close to the seat of knowledge (Chief of Chaplains office) would need to provide specifics and sources. Goleson (talk) 11:46, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Air squadrons now do carry chaplains when they embark on a carrier. The USS Abraham Lincoln had one during their WESTPAC 2008 deployment. Deepdesert (talk) 22:25, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Roman Catholic Seminarian[edit]

a member of the usna class of 2007 was allowed to defer active duty while he attends a 5 year seminary program at mount saint mary's in emmittsburg, maryland.this was a first. he was commissioned an ensign in the chaplain corps. this is analogous to the students at usuhs, who remain o-1's throughout the 4 years of their med school.when he graduates and is ordained he will owe the navy, um, a lotta years.i cannot find a citation for this. if anyone else knows of one please let me know.i think it warrants inclusionToyokuni3 (talk) 18:22, 10 June 2008 (UTC) --Link to The Four Chaplains-- why is there a link to The Four Chaplains on the US Navy Chaplains' Corps page to the best of my knowledge The Four Chaplains were all officers in The US ARMY (talk) 06:58, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Chaplain and RP symbols[edit]

I wanted to share info that I have created a new article, United States military chaplain symbols that I think has a lot of good info. The Director of the Army Chaplain Museum is going to send me old versions of their CHC Seal (one with Jewish and Christian symbols, and one with the Muslim symbol added), the precursors to today's seal with no specific faith group symbols. If anyone has a better version of the old Navy CHC Seal that had symbols for Jewish and Christian chaplains (actually there were two: one had the older Jewish symbol with Roman numerals and one had the Jewish symbol with Hebrew letters), please let me know. The one currently included in the article is not as good as I'd like it to be -- although the one with three symbols plus the current one are fine. The article also notes that the Armed Forces Chaplains Board will soon began the process to create a symbol for Hindu chaplains because the first Hindu chaplain for the U.S. military is in the pipeline. Hope everyone enjoys the article! NearTheZoo (talk) 12:47, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

Quick PS to my note. I am waiting for a few images from the Director of the Army Chaplain Museum to add to this article - but would also like to add one or two related to the Navy (like the photo of the Navy shoulder board with the shepherd's crook). If anyone from the Navy Chaplain School and Center, or anyone in the Navy Chaplain Corps with access to such images, would be willing to help, please leave me a note on my talk page or email me at Thanks! NearTheZoo (talk) 12:45, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

One Letter Nit Pick[edit]

Under "Controversies", those serving in the maritime merchant service are referred to as "merchant marines". The correct term, according to the Wikipedia listing for "Merchant Navy" is "merchant mariners". I have made the correction. (talk) 06:45, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

NPOV problems in "Controversies"[edit]

There is a considerable amount of text in the "Controversies" section concerning Gordon Klingenschmitt that seems to me to badly violate the NPOV rules. Can a more experienced editor look at this and clean up as needed? (talk) 11:31, 1 March 2014 (UTC)