Posted on Apr 24, 2019
Trevor Ford
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I am thinking about enlisting with this MOS and was interested in what everyones thoughts or experiences were with 56m? Is it a good mos to be a part of and do you have experiences of being a soldier and getting to be a part of learning skills of infantry, or is it more of secretary work for most of your contract? Thanks in advance!
Posted in these groups: Cfe3402c 56M: Chaplain Assistant0f777a86 Chaplain
Edited 2 y ago
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SGT Chaplain Assistant
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Hey Trevor,

I've been a 56M for the past seven years while serving on Active Duty and now currently with the National Guard. I feel qualified to answer your question.

First of all, being a Religious Affairs Specialist/NCO (Ras/Ran) is one of the most rewarding careers you can have in the military. To be successful requires someone to be a self-starter and you need to be VERY resilient both mentally and spiritually. You will always get what you put into it.

Passion drives this MOS. There are plenty of perceptions of how we only drive the chaplain around to meetings, hide out in our office or are creepy. While there are many that do that, there is a vast majority of professionals who strive to serve Soldier's and their families.

You'll get plenty of experience in infantry skills because you are always a Soldier first, but you'll also humble yourself in a wide variety of administrative challenges. Our job is to assist the Chaplain in shaping the environment based on the commander's religous intent. We are the most effective at listening to the background noise of our fellow brothers and sisters in arms. They all have a spiritual need whether they know it or not. This can be anything from marriage problems, suicidal idealiations, religous accommodations, etc. Our job is to identify their needs and assist them. We do this through building relationships.

It's a tough job because you take their struggles home with you. It can be a lonely world your peers don't understand.

We also provide security for our assigned Chaplain as they cannot carry weapons. In combat, we have to keep the Chaplain alive. We don't pull additional duties because this hinders our effectiveness when we must respond to a Soldier's crisis. Trust me, the chow hall won't burn down if you don't pull KP, but a Soldier's life can end if no one is there to answer their plea when a suicide attempt is made.

We are servants. You don't have to follow the Lord, but you do have to follow your fellow Soldier's. They rely on you and they usually don't see that until their worst days.

If you do take this MOS, be willing to soak in experience and apply it to your daily tasks. Always take the hard paths and seek mentors. You'll be a Soldier like everyone else, but also a spiritual backbone.

Good luck.

*There's so much more to this MOS, but I'm short on time today. Feel free to message me with questions.*
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SPC John Ward
SPC John Ward
9 mo
What would life be like in a Ranger Batt for this MOS? What about deployments and schools? Hard to get?
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CPL Sharon Fahey
CPL Sharon Fahey
26 d
Couldn't have said it better.
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SGT Chaplain Assistant
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Depends on unit, attitude, and Chap. Expect to be the most flexible soldier that you can be. You can serve 3 years with the infantry, in the crap with them, then three years with the engies, then three with the aviation corps. You will pick up a lot of stuff if you are a good soldier. Past that, just remember, you are pretty much the link between your chap and the actual soldiers. You need to have a good idea of the culture you are working in to succeed. No one respects someone who just drives the Chap around, everyone respects the dude who just helped pound 1000+ meters of pickets and knows concertina wire sucks, and what gauntlet gloves are.

Much easier to go get grounded in an MOS that will teach you the basics of being a soldier first (was a prior 12B). Most RAS don't last long because of either poor performance or bad attitude. It can be on the lax side.

Good Luck to you, and Godspeed.
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SGM Bill Frazer
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It is a catch-all, you are the driver/guard/handyman/maintenance man/
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Trevor Ford
Trevor Ford
2 y
It's crazy how vast the responses are! Lol I do like the catch all aspect though I have a problem with repetition I like doing different things
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