The Call of the Army Chaplain Corps

Nurture the Living

Care for the Wounded

Honor the Fallen

In 1917, the U.S. Army Chaplain School was established out of a need to adequately train chaplains to staff the large fighting force that the United States had prepared for service in World War I. Chaplain (MAJ) Aldred A. Pruden developed the plan for the school. On 9 February 1918, the War Department approved Chaplain Pruden’s plan, and the first session of the Chaplain School commenced on 3 March 1918 at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

Chaplain Pruden was appointed as the school’s first commandant, and for this and his role in the development of the school, he deserves to be called the “Father of the U.S. Army Chaplain School.” For the second session, the school moved to Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky. This initial move was to be a prophetic one because it began an odyssey of relocation.

In the early summer of 1918, during World War I a subsidiary Chaplain School was created in France near the American Expeditionary Force’s headquarters at Chaumont to supplement the school’s activities. After the end of the war, the Chaplain School suspended operations on 16 January 1919, but was later reactivated at Camp Grant, Illinois, in April 1920. In September 1921, the school moved to Camp Henry Knox, Kentucky. One year later, it relocated to Fort Wayne, Michigan.

In the summer of 1924, it found a temporary home at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where it would remain located for the next four years. By 1928, there were only 120 chaplains on active duty in the entire Anny, and the school at Fort Leavenworth that same year trained only one Regular and eleven Reserve chaplains. As a result, the Chaplain School’s activities were suspended. Although it was never officially inactivated, the school would remain so until another war would again see the nation build up its military might and demand chaplains to minister to these forces.

The sixteenth move came in 1996, when the Chaplain Center and School came to its present home at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, moving from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. The Chaplain Corps Regiment (activated on 29 July 1986) and the Army Chaplain Museum currently reside at the school.