June has always been one of my favorite months of the year. It is a month of
change and new possibilities, school graduations, marriages, job assignments, and
The Army Chaplain Corps and the United States Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association (USACCRA) has changes too. This month CH(MG) Thomas Solhjem will retire 20 June after decades of superb service in a ceremony at Ft. Meyer, VA. The Deputy Chief, CH(BG) William Green, Jr., will run the Office of the Chief of Chaplain (OCCH) until the Senate confirms his selection and promotion as the next Chief.
OCCH recently changed senior NCOs with SGM Meaghan Bicklein leading the backbone of the Religious Affairs Specialists (RAS). The Institute of Religious Leadership (IRL) Commandants shift 28 July in Columbia, SC as CH(COL) James Palmer, Jr. retires, and CH(COL) Louis DelTufo succeeds him. Other positions are changing at the OCCH as well.
The USACCRA is progressively changing to stay relevant, productive, and engaging. Membership is rising. The board will be able to send a revised set of By-laws to the membership by July for review and approval. New banners are being made for use at events. The USACCRA will have representatives in DC, SC, and elsewhere to show the Association is in the house. The board is considering several ideas to increase and improve benefits for the membership. Plans for the biennial gathering are moving to the next phase. A theme and
speakers are being explored. New partnerships are being looked at to bolster what can be offered and resource the event for reducing the cost for membership.
Kudos to John Brinsfield and Donna Weddle for their continuing superb coordination of veteran death notices. This is the first time the Army Chaplain Corps has had a system to track, inform, and provide information to the OCCH for condolence letters.
A shout out to Steve Stott who serves simultaneously as an administrator for The Military Chaplains Association (MCA) and as a USACCRA board member. He is a vital link that helps develop mutually beneficial ideas between these organizations. Steve developed a USACCRA coin which is rewarded with certificates and a free one-year membership to all top graduates at the IRL.
Special thanks to Karen Diefendorf for on-going work attempting to establish new chapters. No less than three different places are being worked for possible new starts.
Membership is encouraged to send thanks to CH Solhjem for his dedicated spiritual leadership. If you are in the area stop by the IRL for Regimental Week, 25-28 July. The MCA also meets in Columbia 27-29 July with a robust gathering. See their website for details. Big moments for Regimental Week are a wreath laying ceremony, cake cutting, school run, an organization day, special spouses’ event, and a change of command for the IRL commandants and maybe more.
Plans are still being worked.
Your ideas, input, and articles are requested. Keep sharing the Association story with folks in your area. There is always room for new folks and new ideas.
We are forever changing with new possibilities.
Pro Deo et patria,