American 20th century historian Wil Durant identified two types of people in history, people who dream and people who act upon their dreams. History tends to record active dreamers. That said, United States Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association (USACCRA) is boldly dreaming and working to realize those dreams.
USACCRA dreamed of a greater partnership with the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps it missionally supports. Thanks to CH(MG-R) Solhjem, CH(BG) Green, Jr., CH(COL) Stumme, RSGM Bicklein, the USACCRA Board, and many others at the Office of the Chief of Chaplains (OCCH) and the Institute for Religious Leadership (IRL), a strong relationship is being established. Regular communication and coordination between the two are being established. A case in point is the succession of a new Honorary Chaplain Colonel and an Honorary RSGM to continue our Corps history and traditions. This action is a fusing of past and present to inform a better future for the Army Unit Ministry Team (UMT).
USACCRA exists to serve the total Chaplain Corps (active, veteran, all compos, DRE, Civilian, all ranks, all faiths) especially where it’s difficult for the active serving Chaplain Corps to maneuver. For example, the publishing of death notices for the retired Army Chaplain Corps Family. When a Chaplain Corps Family member retires, they are “off the grid” with the active Army. There are legal restrictions for the Corps that is absent with a civilian organization. Therefore, USACCRA is fielding death notices posting obituaries on our website and contacting the OCCH. This is a first for the Corps. Board member CH-R John Brinsfield ably and speedily handles this service with Board member CH-R Donna Weddle supporting.
USACCRA has reinstated honoring our IRL basic courses top graduates with awards and a free one-year membership in USACCRA. We are looking to expand this effort to other courses. The Association is funding support to enlisted for increased attendance to our annual
Regimental Week Corps Ball. We are hoping to increase our contribution.
More ideas are being explored such as scholarships for spouses and children, reinstatement of making chaplain corps merchandise (swag) available at reasonable prices. In turn the funds received can increase support for other membership benefits and the Chaplain Corps in
general. Ideas are pouring in from both the membership and the field.
Another pursuit is developing mutually helpful relationships with our only other similar organization, the Military Chaplain Association (MCA). Both groups live to serve UMTs. Competition between us is not helpful for the UMT. Therefore, USACCRA and MCA are experimenting with a hybrid chapter in Columbia, SC that meets both group’s business needs, but provides a common setting for collegial sharing and enjoyment without forcing people to attend two separate gatherings each month. USACCRA also brokered with MCA a joint membership where one low due can be a member of both groups for a year. This only applies to an initial membership year and then a person decides for themselves what they want to do. Dues are higher for the MCA than for the USACCRA so negotiations for future expansion are ongoing.
USACCRA’s biggest gift is its biennial gathering. The next event is 22-25 Oct 2024 in Columbia, SC with the theme, “Army Chaplaincy serving God and Country: 250 Years and Beyond”. It is a kickoff event to the numerous celebrations in 2025-2027 across the nation. This gathering represents the total U.S. Army Chaplain Corps. It provides in person sharing, relationship building, education, Esprit de Corps, and historical heritage celebrations. Stay tuned for details.
We dream. We act. By the grace of God, we help Army UMTs extend the finest religious support possible to all assigned and attached personnel, their families, and all other related folks across both the active serving and veteran spectrum. This is the USACCRA.
Pro Deo et Patria,