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Chaplain... Serve those who need you the most
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Officer Accessions

Chaplain... Serve those who need you the most

ANSWER THE CALL...become a National Guard Chaplain!

As a Chaplain you’ll...

When you become a Chaplain with the New York Army National Guard You’ll be bringing God closer to Soldiers - and Soldiers closer to God!

Military chaplains must, as never before, deal with the spiritual well-being of the members of the Armed Forces and their families. You will have the opportunity to serve in critical leadership roles. As an officer in the Army National Guard, you can look forward to assuming greater responsibilities as you advance in rank. You will acquire the leadership and management skills that are highly valued in both military and civilian settings.

The work of chaplains is not confined to the chapel; they go wherever soldiers are. You will make sacrifices, and they will be well rewarded as you will receive all the benefits and privileges associated with being one of the Army National Guard's leaders.

Chaplain Requirements

  • An official ecclesiastical endorsement from your denomination or faith group
  • Be an ordained minister
  • Be qualified spiritually, morally, intellectually and emotionally
  • Be sensitive to religious pluralism and able to provide for the free exercise of religion by all military personnel and their family members
  • Possess a Baccalaureate degree of not less than 120 semester hours
  • Possess an accredited MDIV or Master's level that has 72+ semester hours in one degree
  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Be able to receive a security clearance
  • Pass a physical exam
  • Be between 21 and 45 years of age - prior service may be granted a waiver up to 47

Chaplain Benefits

  • Tuition assistance for candidates
  • Officer’s Pay and Allowances
  • Medical/Dental care - Full medical coverage. More information can be found @
  • Retirement Plan
  • $400,000 low rate life insurance
  • Educational Programs, paid travel to conferences and retreats
  • Variety of Ministry Opportunities
  • A 401 K-type savings plan
  • Free travel on a military aircraft when space is available
  • $40K student loan repayment program

Chaplain Candidate Program

You do not need to wait until your ordination to join the Army National Guard Chaplaincy. You can train to become a chaplain at the same time you are training for the ministry. The training and experience you will receive as a chaplain candidate will add a special dimension to your seminary education. Additionally, some seminaries offer academic credit for your training as a Guard Chaplain Candidate.

By joining the Chaplain Candidate Program, you will get a head start on National Guard training, as well as all the benefits of being a Guard officer while still in seminary.


  • Obtain an ecclesiastical approval from your denomination or faith group.
  • Enroll or accepted at an approved seminary.
  • U.S. Citizen
  • Full-time student working toward a graduate degree in theology consisting of 72 or more hours.
  • Pass military entrance physical
  • Meet the Army height/weight standards
  • Eligible for secret security clearance
  • Less than 40 years of age at commissioning (waivers with prior military service).

Common Questions

Which religions are represented by chaplains in the National Guard?

All religions and belief systems are welcome in the Guard. To serve as a Guard chaplain, your faith group must have a federally recognized endorsing agency that can issue an ecclesiastical endorsement for you. Typically, you will work with Soldiers from your own faith.

What training will I need for chaplaincy in the National Guard?

Chaplains attend Chaplain Officer Basic Leadership Course, a three-month program at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. This course teaches you to apply your civilian chaplain skills to the Army environment, prepares you physically and mentally to be an officer in the Guard, and covers the complexities of the First Amendment, freedom of expression, counseling, mentoring and leadership. This course can be completed in one block or several phases over a 24-month period. Chaplain Candidates are not obligated to attend CHBOLC, but may opt to complete the first half of this training while attending seminary.

Can I join the Guard while I’m still in the seminary?

Yes. You don't have to wait till graduation to join the Army National Guard chaplaincy. Training to be a Chaplain in the Guard while simultaneously training for the civilian ministry lets you earn a substantial paycheck while greatly adding to your education and experience.

What are the commissioning prerequisites for chaplain candidacy?

You must be a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalized, pass a physical exam, and be between 21 and 40 years old. There are several educational requirements as well – be sure to look over the complete list of requirements for Army National Guard chaplain candidates.

What rank will I be?

This depends on your work experience and education level. Chaplains are officers in the Army National Guard and generally begin their career progression at the grade of 1LT (First Lieutenant). Advanced appointment as a CPT (Captain) may be possible under certain circumstances. Chaplain candidates usually join as second Lieutenants.

Will I carry a weapon?

No. Chaplains are non-combatant and therefore never carry weapons. The chaplain assistant provides security for the Religious Support Team.

What is the role of the chaplain in the Guard?

Chaplains are the spiritual leaders of the Army National Guard, providing emotional and religious support to Soldiers and their families. You'll perform religious ceremonies, offer guidance and help Soldiers adjust to their military lives and experiences.

More Information

Chaplaincy, Serving In The Army National Guard

The Army National Guard has a long and proud tradition of service to this great nation. Before the Minutemen of the Revolutionary War fired shots heard around the world, Guard militia were protecting the early American colonists. In every conflict since, the Army National Guard has served with honor and distinction; The War of 1812, the War Between the States, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and more recently, Operation Enduring Freedom. When you become a chaplain in the Army National Guard, you can be proud to know that you are joining the storied ranks of our nation's oldest fighting force.

What makes the National Guard different from all other services is its unique dual mission. The Guard is called to serve both our country and our communities. As a chaplain in the Army National Guard, you will fulfill your commitment to serve God as you support your country and fellow man.

When the President calls, the Guard serves alongside our full-time military during times of conflict. When the state governor calls out the Army National Guard in the wake of natural disasters, you'll find us there, helping our communities and neighbors. If needed to keep order during civil disturbances, the Army National Guard stands ready and prepared. As a Guard member, you may even find yourself helping at-risk children or providing spiritual support to communities in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

There are thousands of Army Guard units located in cities and towns all across the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. When you serve in your hometown, you will be carrying on the centuries-old American tradition of the Guard citizen-Soldier. In the Guard Chaplaincy, you will provide religious guidance in a military setting as has been customary since Biblical times.

Guard members can be found serving at home and abroad. Continued unrest in certain parts of the world dictates that Guard readiness stay at a high level. As a chaplain in the Army National Guard, your guidance is needed to ensure the spiritual well-being of our soldiers.

From the time of the Old Testament to the present, chaplains and their religious support personnel have played important roles in military combat and garrison settings. For example, during the American colonial period, chaplains of different faiths provided religious support to militia forces, ministered to the wounded, and honored the dead. Founding fathers like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin understood and strongly supported chaplains as they addressed and enhanced military life. On July 29, 1775, the Continental Congress established the Chaplain Corps; it is the second oldest branch of service in the Army. On December 28, 1909, the War Department established the enlisted Chaplain Assistant Military Occupational Specialty. Throughout the 20th Century, the roles and training of officer and enlisted chaplaincy personnel expanded through doctrine and training.

The Congress, Executive and Legislative branches have continuously affirmed the Guard Chaplaincy's role in providing critical leadership in spiritual, moral, ethical and religious dimensions of Army personnel, their lives and culture. Chaplains uphold the First Amendment to the Constitution, consistent with their sworn oath, by ensuring protection of the soldier's right to free exercise of religion.

Protestant Chaplaincy

The work of Protestant chaplains is not confined to the chapel; they're part of a church that stretches across the world. They go wherever soldiers need them - in a tent n the desert or in the hospital or at an armory. It is a personal ministry of presence, caring for the needs of military personnel and their families.

Because military service requires extraordinary sacrifices of those who serve and their families, chaplains strive to make themselves available and present. Day or night, chaplains offer guidance, education and direction on religious doctrine. Sometimes they simply listen. Through their words and actions, they provide a place where those in the military can take comfort, draw strength from their faith's rites, and reflect on the responsibilities and challenges they have taken on to protect their fellow Americans.

Protestant chaplains have a flexible and creative ministry. They seek ways to reach out and connect with the different people they serve on a personal level, and opportunity that can be hard to come by in a civilian congregation.

Protestant chaplains in the Guard will tell you they would not trade this ministry for any other. The reward is the opportunity to support soldiers. They are open to spiritual growth and willing to work hard for it. As the soldiers in the Guard do the difficult work of protecting our freedom, Protestant chaplains walk beside them, providing the spiritual and emotional strength they need.

Catholic Chaplaincy

In the Army National Guard, the work of a Catholic chaplain is very much a ministry of presence. One of the unique qualities of being a priest in the military is that it is such a large piece of the vineyard in which to get your hands dirty. There are no boundaries that delineate where your ministry should begin or end. You can be as creative as you want and use your gifts and talents every day.

First and foremost, a Catholic chaplain in the Guard needs a deep passion for Catholicism and a strong desire to bring that faith and the sacraments to the soldiers and families in the military.

Because all Catholic chaplains must be endorsed by a diocese, the work of the Archdiocese for the Military Services would not be possible without the continued sacrifices that the local dioceses make. Their belief in the importance of ministering to military men and women and their families makes the work of catholic chaplains possible.

It is important for Catholic chaplains to make connections with other priests in the local diocese and tap into that support system. Priests can rely on each other as brothers. This is especially important in light of the fact there are often only one or two Catholic priests within a major Guard command.

Jewish Chaplaincy

Although chaplaincy in the U.S. Armed Forces has its roots in Christian pastors, it has evolved into an interfaith profession. Today, the Jewish clergy are an integral part of the Army National Guard Chaplain Corps.

The military Jewish chaplaincy offers a unique challenge to rabbis who aspire to serve “K'lal Yisrael” in a special environment: the Army National Guard, Jewish chaplains represent the entire spectrum of Jewish identity, from the most assimilated to the most traditionally observant.

Soldiers often find themselves isolated from contact with their Jewish communities because of their global mission. The presence of a rabbi in uniform can make the difference between a soldier having a strong personal Jewish commitment or the potential abandonment of their faith.

Being a Jewish chaplain in the Army National Guard is an interesting and stimulating ministry. They are trained to respond to a variety of situations and serve all over the world, ministering to a diverse group of people. They also enable Jews in the military to celebrate life-cycle and festival occasions, while providing multi-dimensional educational and support services.

Chaplain Officer Basic Course

Join the Army National Guard as a chaplain, and you'll enter the service as an Officer. You'll first attend the Chaplain Officer Basic Course (CHOBC). This is an orientation course where new chaplains and chaplain candidates learn the fundamental military tasks and common skills necessary for all soldiers, as well as how to effectively perform religious support duties in a military environment. It provides an introduction to the non-combatant common core skills, military writing and chaplaincy-specific training. The U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains will neither require nor allow chaplains to bear arms as part of your military duties.

CHOBC is completed in four phases. Each phase must be taken sequentially, but the entire course does not have to be taken in the same year.


Your initial military training is a four-week resident course that teaches non-combatant common core skills such as map reading, military customs and courtesies, operations in field conditions and combat survival. Attendance is required for chaplains and chaplain candidates who have no prior Guard officer training. It is optional for others.


Your first phase after the initial military training is a two-week course that focuses on Army writing and correspondence. This course can be completed by correspondence from Army National Guard Chaplains.


Consisting of two three-week resident courses of instruction in Army-specific chaplain duties, this training provides chaplains and chaplain candidates the ability to apply their civilian pastoral skills in the Army National Guard environment.

Members of the Army National Guard truly understand what community means. They dedicate their time and talent locally and globally to help others in times of need. They are continually called upon because of their unwavering dedication to service.

Chaplains inspire these very soldiers in mind, body and soul. They guide them in faith and bring the soldier closer to God in times of need.

In the Army National Guard, you will train a minimum of one weekend a month and two weeks a year so you will be ready should your community or nation need you.

The Guard Takes You Where You Want To Go

You have already demonstrated willingness to selflessly labor for your faith and your community.

We offer a way to further that noble service while being rewarded for your efforts. The citizen-soldiers with whom you'll serve will also be the neighbors with whom you worship and live. For nearly 370 years, the Guard has taken care of its own. Join us and lead a flock like no other.

Chaplains offer a spiritual ministry that spans the globe and helps young men and women be effective soldiers in body, mind and spirit. Ministers, priests, rabbis and imams guide soldiers and their families through life's triumphs and tragedies.

As a Guard Chaplain, you will have the opportunity to be a preacher, teacher and counselor to soldiers and their families. Your counseling can benefit anyone from young children to elderly family members, and your expertise will serve you well on parish and congregational advisory groups.

There are thousands of Guard units located in cities and towns all across the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. When you train in your hometown, you will be carrying on the time-honored tradition of the Guard citizen-soldier - like the first Minuteman, ready at a moment's notice to answer the call.

For over 200 years, military chaplains have accompanied U.S. forces wherever they have served. Chaplains are ordained by individual religious denominations. Once commissioned as officers in the Army National Guard, they provide religious worship services, rites, sacraments, and ministrations to military members and their families worldwide. Their mission is to nurture the living, care for the sick or wounded, and honor the dead.

Chaplains also assist military personnel and family members in dealing with personal concerns such as faith issues, stress, anxiety, redeployment or reunion issues, moral and ethical values, and social concerns.

For many service members, chaplains are the first person outside their chain of command from whom they can receive help. In this role, chaplains assist in resolving problems by making appropriate referrals to command channels or social service agencies. They also assist military personnel in requesting emergency leave, compassionate reassignments and hardship discharges.

Joining the Guard Chaplaincy not only satisfies your calling to serve God, but your calling to serve your country as well. There's no other faithful community that understands the value of serving others quite like the Army National Guard. Your service will be invaluable to the soldiers and their families, as will the experience you can bring back to your civilian ministry.

For more information and to request candidate Checklists, contact:

Candice Freyburger, MAJ
Specialty Branch OSM - Branch Chief
(718) 810-6683

Timothy Miller, LTC
Deputy State Chaplain
(518) 649-3744

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Page Last Modified: 10 Feb 23