Army 56M MOS: Chaplain Assistant

During both war and peace, United States Army personnel have a need and desire to worship their maker. Some will call that maker God and some may call him Allah, Jehovah or many other names.

No matter the name the soldier or officer designates as their maker, they have the right to worship that deity. This is why there are Army Chaplains. The Chaplain is a commissioned Army Officer, and as such, he/she is a non-combatant. It is this way because they are a direct representation of the Holy deity and as such, they need to show a respect for life no matter the person.

But, there does need to be at least one who is a combatant within range of the Chaplain. The Army saw to that by the creation of the Army 56M MOS: Chaplain Assistant.

In today’s post, we are going to examine this Army MOS. I will give a basic job description for the Army 56M Chaplain Assistant. Plus, I will tell you their primary duties and responsibilities. I will explain the requirements to attain this Army MOS, and I will also explain what training is required.

If your parents or family are concerned about you joining the United States Army for religious reasoning, maybe this Army MOS would be a wise choice. Take a look and you be the judge.

Army Chaplain Assistant Basic Job Description

The Army 56M Chaplain Assistant is the support individual for the Army Chaplain. He/she aids and supports the Unit Ministry Team for worship services, and also provides protection for the non-combatant Chaplain in combat situations.

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Duties and Responsibilities of the Army 56M Chaplain Assistant

The duties of a Chaplain Assistant can fall into many different areas depending on the religious needs of members of Army units, and the needs of the Chaplain the 56M is assigned to.

Here is a basic list of the most common duties and responsibilities of the Army Chaplain Assistant:

  • Provide religious support for worship programs and services

  • Provide support for crisis intervention

  • Performs combat lifesaving techniques and skills

  • Maintains Chaplain vestments and religious instruments

  • Uses communication skills in both crisis and suicide intervention

  • Office administration using automated systems which includes inventory and supply management

  • Supports family readiness programs

  • Screens and refers those who may need counseling

  • Maintains security of religious functions and the protection of the Chaplain

  • Safeguards private communications and offerings

  • Arranges and prepares religious retreats and ceremonies

  • Provides religious support for individuals on the battlefield

  • Conducts training on religious customs and cultural specifications

  • Adapts the Unit Ministry Team’s functions to a unit’s mission, the terrain and the time available

  • Assists soldiers in conflict resolution and moral value development

  • Advises Commander/Chaplain on religious matters be it cultural, conflict, etc…

As I said, this is just a small part of what the duties and responsibilities can be for the Army 56M. Essentially they are both an Army and a Spiritual Warrior.

Requirements To Become An Army 56M Chaplain Assistant

These are the primary requirements an individual needs to be able to attain the Army 56M military occupational specialty:

  • Have an ASVAB score in clerical of 90

  • Obtain a Secret security clearance

  • Must be able to type a minimum of 20 words per minute

  • Have a valid State drivers license

  • Must have a favorable Entrance National Agency Check (ENTNAC)

  • No records of any civilian convictions within previous 2 years other than minor traffic offenses

  • Must agree to provide religious support no matter the religion

  • No court martial convictions

  • Willing to bear arms and provide combatant support

  • Have no pattern of undesirable behavior by civilian or military records

While these requirements may seem high. We must keep in mind that the Chaplain Assistant is a moral and religious support. They must reflect an upstanding moral character.

Training Required To Become An Army 56M Chaplain Assistant

As an enlisted soldier, the Army 56M will have to first take approximately 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training where he/she will learn how to be a warrior. Once the soldier has completed BCT, they will travel to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for Advanced Individual Training at the United States Army Chaplain Center and School.

Some of what the 56M will learn at AIT will be:

  • Cultural religious history and backgrounds

  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling

  • Typing and clerical techniques and skills

  • How to prepare forms and correspondence in the United States Army’s styles

  • The roles of Army Chaplains

Final Thoughts

This Army MOS can be a rewarding position in the Army for a variety of reasons. You are serving our great country, and also serving our great maker. You will help soldiers in crisis and will protect the one who provides religious instruction to Army personnel. The Army 56M may not seem like a job of prestige, but it is a very important position.

Not only that, those who choose this Army position are setting steps for many possibilities of careers after their Army service. From counseling to clerical positions, the possibilities are endless.

What are your thoughts about the Army 56M Chaplain Assistant? Have any of you reading this had that MOS? If so, please tell us more.

Thank you for your service, and you can post all questions, comments or suggestions below.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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