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The USACCRA Future

by Scottie Lloyd, President, USACCRA

The USACCRA is looking at a new day in how it comes alongside those serving now in the Chaplain Corps and to support the past, present, and future of all who serve “God and Country”. As an associational family we need everyone participating in this continuing effort. Therefore, I am asking for your help in three ways that best assist our mutual ministry mission.

First, we need your dreams and ideas of how this group can best celebrate our heritage, support those who currently serve Active, Guard or Reserve, and develop a future path for the Corps family. One way the USACCRA may do this is by engaging the Chief of Chaplains “Chaplain For Life” Campaign. This effort is to fill the gap between Corps transition from the Army into continued ministry outside the military. It’s a piece that’s been missing and needs to be addressed. Retired Chaplain Tommy Vaughn, Jr. is the Chief’s lead on this initiative, and now the Chief is inviting the Association to join this project. Tommy will be presenting this campaign at our gathering in Tucson. When permission is received, we’ll post a slide brief on our website for those who can’t be with us in Tucson. More to follow on this exciting new opportunity.

The second way members can help is recruiting new members. Contact your faith group’s endorser and engage the currently serving chaplains, RASs, and DREs. Your witness is better than any brochure or website in letting people know about the Association and it’s potential for supporting the current and future Chaplain Corps generation. Please call, send a note, or visit someone who can be a part of our associational family. As a professional association, we need every voice to fully advance our mission-all component and every form of Chaplain Corps service.

Thirdly, your financial support and presence is needed in Tucson. Most of our current members are ‘lifers’. This means they paid one amount long ago and never had to pay annual dues. It’s a bargain many organizations offer, but it has a downside. While generating significant funds as Life Members pay in, the organization takes a risk if it doesn’t keep a continuing flow of new members. Without new members, eventually the finances run out. The USACCRA has not filled its ranks well. Long before COVID and the prevalence of digital meetings, your Board switched to electronic board gatherings to save thousands of dollars for the Association. This worked! Board members and chapter officers serve voluntary with rarely any reimbursement. Often expenses are out of volunteer pockets. To regain momentum in reaching out to the present generation of Chaplain Corps personnel we need a financial boost. If each Association member would donate a special gift of $25 to the Association in 2022 this would help tremendously in reaching the current Corps generation. This money can be used for awarding honor graduates at the schoolhouse, providing certificates of free first-year memberships to new folks and more. Our treasurer, Dennis Madtes, can receive your gifts sending a check directly to him at 4112 Goldmine Road, Goldvein, VA, 22720.

I mentioned being at Tucson for our next gathering. Note, I said “gathering” not “reunion”. A reunion denotes a retired group only. A “gathering” denotes both serving and retired Corps members. We are an inclusive family. We need to say so and be so. COVID has caused us to be separated for nearly four years. This hurts in many ways. We need to see each other and proclaim our support for “God and Country” by showing up for our October 25-28, 2022 gathering. Please register now. The Chief of Chaplains has committed himself to be with us despite his packed and convoluted schedule because he puts great importance on this gathering and our new future together. We need to show ourselves and make our voices heard.

Thank you for your ministry and service past and present. Let us join for a greater future together.


Scottie Lloyd

President, USACCRA

Attack on the Pentagon Remembered

By Chaplain (Colonel) James A. Buckner, USA RET

On September 11, 2001, I was serving as the Director of Plans, Policy Development and Training for the Army Chief of Chaplains. The day began like other days. I had arrived to the office at a normal time around 0630 and had begun to plan the day’s activities.

It was around 0850 that my Administrative Assistant Darlene came into my office and said “someone has flown a plane into the Trade Center.” I went into the conference room and watched with horror as we saw images of a plane slamming into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. While I was still watching, we saw another plane slam into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. By then, everyone that was in the office had gathered in the conference room and was glued to the large monitor on the wall. I left the room to go back to my office.

When I was the Fifth Army Chaplain stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, we had routinely trained four chaplain teams to respond to natural disaster and weapons of mass destruction. We had two teams focused on the Eastern U.S. and two teams focused on the West. It became apparent to me that this was an event in New York that we might be called upon to send teams to assist the local assets on the ground. I needed to alert Forces Command to contact these four teams and have them prepare to deploy if needed.

While I was on the phone with the Forces Command Chaplain, Chaplain (Colonel) Don Taylor, my Administrative Assistant came running into my office and said, “They have hit the Pentagon.”  I told Chaplain Taylor I needed to go but would be in touch. I ran to the conference room to see the dark black smoke rising from the impact zone on the side of the Pentagon. I knew we had to get to the Pentagon immediately.

All the cell towers went down so our only communication was on land lines. I told the civilians in the office to go home and to stay there until they received further notice. Ms. Jody Dunning asked if she could do anything. I told her that I needed someone to call all the family members of those assigned to the Office of the Chief of Chaplains (OCCH) and say this: “Your loved one is safe. Expect them when you see them.” Ms. Dunning did us all a great service on that day as she was able to ease the minds at home.

I gathered the chaplains and chaplain assistants around me and told them we were going to the Pentagon. We left immediately and began to run towards the toward the South Entrance of the Pentagon. Our office was at Presentation Towers, Pentagon City, VA. Part of our office had moved there as their offices in the Pentagon underwent renovation. It was fortunate that we had not been moved back into the old offices for it was there that the American Airlines Flight 77 impacted. Many in the office has served most of their time in the now destructed wedge of the Pentagon.

Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Terry Bradfield was already fielding phone calls from Army Personnel. So, I asked him to remain in the office to a single point of contact for calls coming into our office. The rest of us ran to the Pentagon. We were running against the flow of hundreds of people as they were fleeing the Pentagon. As I looked into their eyes, I saw shock and fear. I still remember one woman scolding us for still wearing our identification badges.

As we approached the South Parking area, a lone policeman stopped us and asked where we were going. We told them we were looking for the Casualty Collection Point. He pointed us to the River Entrance of the Pentagon near the Pentagon Athletic Center (PAC). On that side of the building was the Pentagon Medical Clinic. As we approached the bridged area on that side of the building, we were stopped again by Defense Force Police officers asking where we were going. We told them we were looking for the Casualties. They told us that they had changed the collection point to the other side of the building near the impact zone. We kept running. At each side of the Pentagon, we met some form of Defense Force Police. We told them who we were and where we were headed. They let us pass.

On the Mall entrance side of the Pentagon, a lone Defense Force Policeman stood on the steps of the entrance. He came running toward us asking the same question as others. He again let us pass but said, “hurry, there is another plane incoming.”

As we turned the corner and were running toward the attack side of the building, we were immediately confronted by all the debris on the ground. We were maneuvering around and over pieces of the exploded airplane. There were parts of fuselage, tires, crooked metal, and other debris. The site was beyond belief as we stood to assist in any way.

We stayed on sight most of the day and were on the sight when the side of the building collapsed. The access to anyone trapped in that wedge was over. The word was disseminated that no other action would happen until the fires were out.

The Deputy Chief of Chaplains, Chaplain (Brigadier General) David Hicks, instructed me to go back to the office to begin planning for further actions.

Around 1800 that evening, I received a call from Lieutenant General John A. Van Alstyne’s office. Lieutenant General Alstyne was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy. The caller instructed me to come to a meeting the next morning at 0900 at the Pentagon City Sheridan Hotel.

When I arrived at the hotel and entered the meeting space, the room was filled with both military and civilians. When I entered the room, the civilian at the head of the table said to me: “Thank God you are here. By tonight we need to have this Family Support Operation up and running. We will need coverage 24 hours a day.” He then left the room.

To be honest I knew nothing about setting up or running a family support operation. Fortunately, other agencies were also given a similar mission. Our operation would be to staff the center with chaplains.

In the room were Chaplains from the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Army chaplains had been in D.C. to attend a Joint Chaplains Conference. The immediate need was to get volunteers to cover the next 24 hours. By that time, we would have opportunity to schedule coverage for the rest of the weeks. There was three Navy Chaplains who were serving with the Marines at Quantico. They volunteered to cover the first night’s evening shift.

Chaplain (Colonel) Donna Weddle who was in town to attend the Joint Forces Chaplain Conference, volunteered along with others attending that conference. They promised to cover the day shift until they had to leave town. The Air Force Chaplains also volunteered to cover a shift. The Family Support Center operated for over two months and we provided Chaplains around the clock to care for anxious and grieving families.

Soon it became apparent that the FBI was going to assume control of the incident site and the word went out that they would erect a fence around that entire section of the building. Once erected they would control access in and out. This was a crime scene.

Chaplain (Colonel) Larry Racster began working to stake out a position that would be inside the fence. He coordinated for a GP large tent that could be used for church services and for counseling. He volunteered to serve as the senior controller of that operation.

This operation, known as the incident site operation would be staffed by Chaplains from all the services and would operate 24 hours a day. Chaplain Racster provided those who were working on site with a valuable resource.

It became apparent to me that we were going to need some way to schedule participants to support not only at the Family Support Center, but now at the incident site. We would soon find out that these two operations were the tip of the iceberg for scheduling. Chaplain (Colonel) Jack Anderson came to our aid. Chaplain Anderson volunteered to be the single point of contact for all schedules. He would coordinate for coverage of all operations with the Army, Navy, and Air Force. His coordinating was essential to making all the operations flow smoothly.

At the Incident cite there were two individuals that performed specialized ministry. The first I will mention was Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Jim Boelens. Chaplain Boelens volunteered to work with the FBI in the morgue operation. Old Guard soldiers would escort remains from the building and place them in a truck that would carry them to the temporary morgue. In that truck was a medical Doctor and a Chaplain. The Doctor would open the body bag and declare that the remains were deceased. Then Chaplain Boelens would pray. When the truck was filled, they would move the truck to the temporary morgue and there again they would repeat the process. This was a particularly difficult assignment, but Chaplain Boelens responded with honor and dignity.

After September 11th the Pentagon only required key and essential personnel to come to work. The metro stop at the Pentagon was closed. After two weeks or so, the Pentagon returned to full operational status. The Metro was open. On that opening day, around 0900 I received a call from a Metro Policeman who asked me to come to the Pentagon Metro station. When I arrived, he asked me “what was missing.” I could hear the train noise, the doors opening and closing but no one was talking. I responded, “No one is speaking.” He said, “exactly. When was the last time you were down here and no one is speaking.” I said “never”.

I called Chaplain Racster at the incident site and asked him if he had anyone on his site that he could release and come to the Metro station. Chaplain Racster sent Chaplain (Major) Tim Mallard to me. I instructed Chaplain Mallard to wear his beret that has his branch insignia on it—a cross. I asked him to walk among the people who were arriving to the Pentagon and to greet them. I wanted him to break the silence. Hopefully the symbol on his beret would provide them strength and comfort.

Chaplain Mallard asked me how long he was to fulfill that mission. I told him he would know.  Three days later Chaplain Mallard called me and told me it was time. I asked how he knew. He said that people were again talking to one another in the Metro. Chaplain Mallard had helped these folks break their silence and reestablish some since of normalcy.

Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Art Pace was not in D.C. On September 11. He was attending meetings at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. It took him several days to finally get back into Washington. Since all planes had been grounded, Chaplain Pace eventually had to rent a car and drive back to D.C.

When he arrived, he contacted me and asked what he could do to help. I told him that there was an area that we did not have covered. Some of the casualties from that day had been sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. But some of the worse burn cases were sent to Washington Medical Center. I instructed him not to focus on those at Walter Reed because they would receive Chaplaincy services there. I asked him to find those that were in the civilian hospitals and if possible, with their permission, capture their stories.

Chaplain Pace did just that. He visited these patients daily and the stories that he relayed were incredible. One patient that Chaplain Pace ministered to was Lieutenant Colonel, Brian Birdwell. Lieutenant Colonel Birdwell was burned over 80% of his body but his wife Mel Birdwell refused to give up on his recovery. They have written a book about their journey titled Refined by fire: A Soldier’s Story of 9-11, A Family’s Triumph of Love and Faith.

Our final challenge in providing help and care to those impacted by the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon was to provide a chaplain at every funeral no matter where that funeral was to occur. General Jack Keene, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army had promised the families of those who had been killed in the attack, that a Chaplain and a General Officer would attend their funeral. Our office was responsible for coordinating coverage for all those events.

Some have said that there are events in our lives that we will never forget. 9-11 is one of those events. Though the challenges were great and the hours long, the Army Chaplaincy along with our sister services stepped to the plate and provided needed ministry to those who were so drastically impacted by the terrorist attack. God provided us the strength and wisdom in those difficult days and to him we give glory.




The membership has spoken with surveys recently sent to every member. Only 72 people responded, but they demographically represent the core of our membership. Only two non-members responded for the survey.

At the November 2018 reunion in D.C. two surveys were released. The first survey was from 1st. VP Kim Casey and dealt with the reunion exclusively. The second survey from 2nd VP Scottie Lloyd dealt with both reunion issues and membership in general. These are the results from the second broader issue survey.

The BLUF was clear and the USACCRA Board has been briefed on your thoughts.

  1. The reunion is our bread and butter activity, but many are wavering and wondering if isn’t time to perhaps expand our purpose or do business with reunions differently to be relevant for younger generations.
  2. The last two reunions are considered superlative successes. There are suggestions for improvement, but the basic outline, especially worked with a local chapter, is the correct pattern.
  3. Dues are fair. Lifetime memberships are a great deal.
  4. Members “crave” more information particularly about the Chaplain Corps now and into the future. Historical presentations are great but considered entertainment. There is a significant feeling of loss and detachment from the Corps the longer a person is retired. Membership appears to want us to help fill some of that gap with information.
  5. Which leads to another repeated issue. People expect the Chief of Chaplains and the SGM of the Corps to attend and provide a good brief on challenges, successes, and issues now and into the future of the Army Chaplaincy. The DCH was mentioned only once as a replacement. It’s got to be the Chief. No replacements. This was adamant by the surveys.
  6. Having said this, the DACH Staff and USACHS Staff are often recommended as follow on speakers. The topics can vary, but people like this pool of speakers. Also mentioned are Army commanders and General Officers.
  7. What does our membership want by these surveys? In order of desire: fellowship (reunion, well crafted website), Information (Better speakers and expanded website), and Connection capabilities (Rosters and expanded website). A special comment is drop the reference go rank. Call folks by first name, but leave off the colonel or SGM stuff.
  8. Include more of the Reserve, National Guard, and Chaplain Candidates. Also, see if a better connection can be crafted with those who are still in active service.
  9. When and where should we conduct the reunion? Fall and spring are the favorites with many saying why not alternate them. Locations vary greatly, but all places warmer is best and centrally located is better especially near a major airline hub.
  • We had nine people volunteer for help on the board and two said they are trying to make things happen with a new local chapter in their area.

The USACCRA Board is working on these results and the results from the reunion survey. More to follow, but we thank all who took the time to do this survey. We value your feedback.

1st VP Scottie Lloyd

Bible Museum Trip (USACCRA)

Vendors Signup

Vendors wanting to set up a table during the USACCRA 9th Biennial Reunion, Nov 7-10, at the Sheraton Pentagon City, please contact Scottie Lloyd at or by calling (c) 909-553-5196 or (o) 909-882-5013. There is no cost for this service, but there is registration to ensure space availability. Vendors assume risk for the security of their property since it is in a lobby area and not inside a locked ballroom. Suspense for registering is 30 October 2018.   

The Museum of the Bible

Explore the Museum

Museum of the Bible aims to be among the most technologically advanced and engaging museums in the world. Showcasing rare artifacts spanning 3,500 years of history, the museum offers visitors an immersive and personalized experience with the Bible, and its ongoing impact on the world around us.

We exist to invite all people to engage with the Bible through our Collections, Exhibits, Academy & Research and Media & Publications. In 2017, Museum of the Bible opened its 430000-square-foot non-profit museum in Washington, D.C., located just two blocks from the National Mall and three blocks from the Capitol.




The Holocaust Museum

Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration & Complicity in the Holocaust

Millions of ordinary people witnessed the crimes of the Holocaust. Across Europe, the Nazis found countless willing helpers who collaborated or were complicit in their crimes. What motives and pressures led so many to abandon their fellow human beings? Why did others choose to help? Watch the exhibition overview video.

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Anne Frank

Anne Frank was one of the more than one million Jewish children who died in the Holocaust. She was born Annelies Marie Frank on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany, to Otto and Edith Frank. Read more about Anne Frank.

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Samson Reichstein

Samson was raised by Jewish parents in Tarnopol. His father died when Samson was 13, and Samson went to work to help support his mother and four brothers and sisters. Read Samson’s story.

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Introducing Mariachi Los Soberanos


Mariachi Los Soberanos in front of Mission San Juan

one of the five UNESCO world heritage sites in San Antonio.


Mariachi goes back hundreds of years.  Most of the sound we hear today is from the 19th century.  Mariachi Los Soberanos consists of young, talented individuals with years of experience in the music industry, performing arts, and public relations. Each member has played for over seven years, and contributes their musical knowledge achieved from performing with other groups and studying with different masters in this area. From the European influence of the violins, trumpets and a classical guitar to the rustic hybrid adaptation of the vihuela and guitarrón from classical versions of the guitar and bass, Mariachi Los Soberanos offers the whole instrumental gamma of resonance variety in modern mariachis. 


Introducing “The Telling Project”

Introducing “The Telling Project”

a telling projectJonathan Wei, the founder and director of The Telling Project, is a playwright, writer and producer. Jonathan’s dramatic work has been staged at the Guthrie Theater, Library of Congress; Maryland Center for the Performing arts; The Alley Theater in Houston, Texas; and Portland Centre Stage in Portland, Oregon among others.  His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the Village Voice, Iowa Review, and the North American Review and Glimmer Train, and his work featured by the New York Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Inside Higher Ed, the Associated Press, and National Public Radio.  He has received support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the Smithsonian Institute, the Library of Congress, Metabolic Studios, Minnesota Humanities Center, Humanities Iowa, Oregon Humanities Center and others.  Jonathan lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


The Telling Project began with Jonathan Wei working with a veteran’s student discussion group in order to help them have meaningful conversations about their experiences. This discussion has led to a national performing arts non-profit that employs theater to deepen our understanding of the military and veterans’ experience. Greater understanding fosters receptivity, easing veterans’ transitions back to civil society, and allowing communities to benefit from the skills and experience they bring with them. Through this understanding, a community deepens its connection to its veterans, itself, and its place in the nation and the world.

Since 2008, The Telling Project has produced 40+ original performances, put over 180 veterans and family members on stage and performed in 16 states across the nation.  The cast members are all local veterans where the production is being presented. So far productions have been in Washington DC, Baltimore, New York, Houston, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Denver, Austin, San Antonio, Tampa Bay, San Antonio and many other locations plus more are scheduled.

Jonathan will be involving five veterans from the local San Antonio cast in his presentation.

The Telling Project will soon be launching a new forum for veterans to tell their stories. It is called “Planting the Oar.”

Telling Our Story

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