Posted on Dec 19, 2020
SPC Spc (E 4)
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Right now, I am in OSUT at Ft. Benning as an 11x. I am wondering if it is possible (like my D.S. and my P.L. have said) to reclass after BCT?

Background: Joining the military was never a question. It is something I have always felt God has wanted me to do. The question was what was I going to do in the military. I chose the infantry because I wanted to be there when people went through the darkest moments in their life. The real stuff. I wanted to be there with them and help them get out of those dark moments. Early during Basic, the Chaplain came in and gave a brief on Suicide Prevention and Awareness. After the brief about 80+ trainees wanted to speak to the Chaplain. It was in that moment that I knew if I wanted to have the impact I desired, that is where I needed to be. I felt that that is where God is calling me. An MOS that my family suggested I do from the first place but I, being stubborn, didn’t see the full impact a Chaplain can have. So, I spoke to my D.S. and he said, “Give me the first 9 weeks and I’ll make it happen.” Now, I can’t reclass straight into Chaplain as I don’t have a seminary degree, but what I am able to do is resclass to a 56M (Religious Affairs Specialist). This is something that more or less every Cadre at my company is tracking. Mainly because I have the nickname of Chaplain from the other trainees.

Steps:
1) Reclass to Religious Affairs Specialist
2) During my first contract (5 years) get a seminary degree.
3) Submit a Chaplain Packet.

Note: If it is possible, any advice on how to increase the likelihood would be appreciated.
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Responses: 23
SGT Christopher Hayden
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Edited 7 mo ago
I don't think your Drill Sergeants really have any idea what they are talking about. You joined the Army to become an Infantryman, signed a contract to be one, and you're in the middle of that right now. You can't just randomly switch to some other, much smaller, MOS. Imagine if everyone did that? It would be a logistical mess. I'm going to assume your only option at this point is to finish your 11X training, become an 11B or 11C, go on to your duty station, still work towards your degree, and when your reenlistment window opens up you can try and reclass to 56M if they have any open slots. God may be calling you to it, but the Army owns you now, not God. You're going to be an Infantryman for the time being.
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SFC Patient Service Tech
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No. You are not MOS qualified, yet. Therefore you cannot voluntarily switch out. What can happen for you to switch MOSs are thus: Going thru 11B school, you flunk out (hard to do for Infantry) of AIT and get reclassed Needs of the Army. Go thru 11B school and get injured enough thru no fault of your own (very big key there), to where you can't physically be an Infantryman but can still do Soldier stuff and be reclassed Needs of the Army. The only other route I can think of is that you graduate AIT, do your time as an Infantryman, then reclass to Chaplains Assistant come reenlistment time. This, would be the better route because you would have first hand knowledge and experience to better help/assist those that need help/assistance.
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SFC Retention Operations Nco
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No, you cannot. Your DS is 100% incorrect in this regard. You probably won't be able to reclass to 56M later on either, and you don't need to. You need to review the requirements to be a Chaplain and being a 56M is not one of them. I've met lots of Chaplains who were former 11B, and have never yet met one who was a former 56M.

If you want to be a good Chaplain you'll have a lot more impact counseling these young, distraught combat arms Soldiers when you've gone through the same hardships they have as an 11B. It's only when you walk in someone else's boots that you can really understand their pain. The best Chaplains I've worked with were all former NCOs and served in combat arms. If you really believe you have a higher calling to be a Chaplain, you'll want to be the best Chaplain you can be.

The requirements for being a Chaplain are a Bachelor degree, a Master degree in Theology or Religious studies, and formal sponsorship by a denomination or religion (depending on your religion). Being a 56M will not get you any closer to those, it won't make it easier, and it won't make you any more likely to be selected or sponsored. Once you get to your unit immediately start working on your degree and get with your Chaplain to talk about sponsorship, scholarships, and commissioning process.
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