Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

My Essay on “Why I Want to be an Army Chaplain”

I am currently putting together my packet to accession as a U.S. Army Chaplain, and part of that packet is a 1-page essay titled “Why I want to be a U.S. Army Chaplain”.  Now, the regular denziens of the Celestial Lands can probably guess that what has been difficult has been getting it down to 1 double spaced page…  terseness is a quality I struggle with.

As I wrote it, I thought I might share the draft here at Celestial Lands, so that more eyes than mine might see it and share thoughts.  It, along with a very long packet, all my military records, and a photo of me will be all the Accessioning Board has to make their decision about whether I become a Chaplain (rather than the Chaplain Candidate I am now) and whether I am selected for Active Duty or Reserves (we really want Active Duty).  I do not get to appear before the board myself… so this essay is about the only personal touch I can add.

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.  I’m emailing it to my recruiter on Monday.

Why I want to be a U.S. Army Chaplain – 1LT David Pyle, CC

I was serving as a U.S. Army intelligence analyst at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador, when a 7th SFG Battalion Chaplain called to let me know my father, a retired Master Sergeant, had died of a heart attack. After I spoke with my mother, it was my Chaplain who talked me through making the decision to come home for the funeral. He called the Ambassador and began the process of bringing me home. He had a local National Guard Chaplain provide support to my family. When I returned to Ft. Bragg, he helped me begin to cope with my grief.

I want to be a U.S. Army Chaplain because I know first-hand how important this ministry is in the life, not just of our Army, but in the lives of soldiers and families. It was an Army Chaplain who christened me. It was an Army Chaplain that introduced me to my faith tradition and denomination. It was an Army Chaplain who walked with me through some of the hard days in Bosnia. 1 Peter 5:5 reminds us to be of service to one another, and when I look back at some of the hardest moments of my life, it was an Army Chaplain who walked with me.

I am called to this ministry by my faith. My faith as a liberal Christian and a Unitarian Universalist makes supporting the religious and cultural pluralism of today’s military an active part of my ministry. I am called to this ministry by my own experiences as a soldier, and by my experience of having been the young child of a deployed soldier-father. I am called to this ministry by the struggle of coming home from my own deployments, and learning how to live in the civilian world again. My formation and ministry have been shaped by these calls.

I want to be a U.S. Army Chaplain because my relationship with God and my walk upon this earth have been preparing me for this call my whole life, including the blessings of all the Chaplains who have walked with me. I ask you grant me the honor and the privilege to don my ruck again, and march with our soldiers today, as a U.S. Army Chaplain.

Yours in faith,


2 Thoughts on “My Essay on “Why I Want to be an Army Chaplain”

  1. Sounds good….good luck with the board David.

  2. Pingback: Celestial Lands » Blog Archive

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