On Friday, August 31st, two Unitarian Universalists graduated from the Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course of the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School at Ft. Jackson, SC.
Chaplain (CPT) George Tyger (left) is a 14 year "veteran" of the Unitarian Universalist ministry, who prior to following the call into the U.S. Army Chaplaincy served as the senior minister of the First Universalist Church of Rochester, NY. Chaplain Tyger has been accepted onto active duty, and will be serving the spiritual needs of soldiers at Ft. Hood, TX. This is Chaplain Tyger's second time in the military, having served before as an infantry soldier.
2LT David Pyle (right) is a third year seminarian at the Meadville Lombard Theological School, and a Chaplain Candidate. David will be serving the next year as the ministerial intern of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois. After completing seminary and fellowship, David hopes to be accepted onto active duty. David is a prior service Army intelligence analyst.
They are pictured above with the class gift, presented to the school, of an American flag placed over the words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The gift is intended as a reminder to future classes of Chaplains and Chaplain Candidates that the purpose and mission of the U.S. Army Chaplaincy is to protect the free exercise of religion in the Army, not to prostelytize for any particular faith group or denomination.
The Chaplain Officer Basic Leaders Course is a 12 week intensive course in the role and duties of an Army Chaplain. The course seeks to teach how to minister in the unique, complex, and pluralistic environment of the U.S. Army. The course includes instruction in how to survive as a non-combatant during war, certifications as instructors in family wellness, military memorial and worship ceremonies, military ethics, counseling soldiers and their families, the role of a staff officer, and much more. Physical fitness, field exercises, and attendence at almost a hundred different worship services are also a part of the training.
David and George graduated as a part of what is the largest class of Chaplains and Chaplain Candidates in over 25 years.