Fort Jackson, South Carolina (CNN) – The summer sun beats down on camouflaged Kevlar helmets. Weighed down by heavy body armor, men and women of the cloth are crawling through sand, under barbed wire and learning how to run with soldiers.
Explosions in woods simulate the battlefield as an instructor barks commands.
“You are not following simple instructions! Cover me while I move! Got you covered! Let’s go!”
This is the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where the Army trains clergy of all faiths how to survive in combat.
Once many of these chaplains complete this modified basic training they will head to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the explosions and gunfire are not simulated.
Here at Fort Jackson, on a range in the woods, there is a bevy of broken down cars and trucks to simulate an urban battlefield.
The army says being a chaplain in combat is among the most dangerous jobs because the chaplains move from base to base ministering to soldiers.
“Once you move behind the vehicle, the chaplain, who has no weapon, will stay behind the engine block or the wheel base. That is the safest place for you to be,” the instructor yells to the long line of chaplains who are readying to run this course.
On the battlefield, chaplains look just like any other soldier.
Decked out in camouflage and body armor, the only addition is a two-inch patch signifying their religious affiliation…
Read on here.
There’s even a short video.