The Unit Chaplain: Roles and Responsibilities

Chaplain giving communion to a service member.

Chaplains are the military's religious leaders, responsible for tending to the religious and moral well-being of service members and their families. The chaplain's responsibilities include performing religious rites, conducting worship services, providing confidential counseling, and advising commanders on religious, spiritual and moral matters.

Chaplains are commissioned officers who go wherever there are military members, including combat environments. They have an important role in the commander's program for operational stress control.

Chaplain team responsibilities


contact information for your installation chaplain on your installation website or by visiting MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and selecting "Chapels" in the program or service section.

The chaplain team includes chaplain assistants and religious program specialists, who are both enlisted personnel. The team's main obligations are to service members and their families, and their responsibilities include the following:

  • Conducting worship and administering sacraments
  • Performing other religious ceremonies and services
  • Visiting with service members
  • Developing religious education programs and religious youth activities
  • Conducting seminars and retreats
  • Accompanying service members into combat
  • Providing combat stress support
  • Advising commanders on religious and moral matters
  • Counseling service members and their families

Chaplains are not typically licensed clinical counselors; however, they possess absolute confidentiality and are prepared to help people with many life challenges including:

  • Work-related issues
  • Combat stress
  • Deployment
  • Marriage and family
  • Substance abuse
  • Grief
  • Finances

Contact your unit chaplain or installation chapel to learn more about chaplains and their services.


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