August 14, 2014, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. – In an effort to provide Army National Guard Chaplain Ministry Teams an updated reference for their operations at the tactical level, the Army National Guard’s Training Analysis Feedback Team, stationed at Mission Training Complex- Leavenworth developed and released the Chaplain Corps Handbook.
The handbook addresses three major areas not formerly addressed in the Chaplain Corps’s Training Circular 1-05 (Religious Support for Unit Ministry Team) such as defense support to civil authorities, soldier leader engagements and traumatic event management.
TC 1-05 is what the chaplain corps refers to for its operations. It has not been updated since May 2005.
With no projected date for a new chaplain publication, the Army National Guard staff chaplain, Col. John Morris, discussed the idea of a handbook with TAFT in March 2013.
“My goal was for a chaplain who had no military experience could go to his or her first drill and be able to pick up a paint by numbers book on being a part of a battalion staff,” said Morris.
The handbook created by TAFT is not a doctrinal publication, but it is now being used by organizations in the active component.
“If we can help the whole Army move ahead, that’s great. We are one team, one fight,” Morris said.
During the 34th ID, a Warfighter exercise at MTC-LVN in June of 2014, chaplain evaluators from First Army utilized the book and distributed it to chaplains being evaluated during the exercise.
“It has taken a lot of guidance from TC 1-05 and it’s added over 10 years of Guard experience, deployments and missions,” said Lt. Col. Michael Crawford, while being evaluated as command chaplain for the 34th Infantry Division.
Crawford and his staff used the handbook to go over their mission essential tasks while conducting operations for Warfighter.
“It’s very simple, easy to read and covers what we need to cover as chaplains,” said Sgt. Jeff Dexter, the operations noncommissioned officer for the 34th ID Ministry Team.
The handbook includes multiple appendices for unit ministry teams as well as sample memos, formats and checklists for organizing tasks.
“I’m thankful someone put it all together in one location and in a hardcopy,” said Capt. Sean McMackin, brigade chaplain for the 168th Engineer Brigade headquartered in Vicksburg, Miss., who also participated in the Warfighter.
McMackin’s comments were in reference to the sample TASCOP and sample memos provided.
“We are going to give it to every unit ministry team in our state,” said Maj. Wylly Collins, the full-time support chaplain for the Alabama Army National Guard.
Collins has dealt with defense support to civil authorities operations throughout his 11-year career as a chaplain ranging from tornados to Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav.
The handbook would have been invaluable during those events, Collins said. He has already requested additional copies for future operations.