Military Chaplin (Priest)
Main Topic: Physical Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society
Overview: Chaplains are the military’s religious leaders. They are responsible for tending to the spiritual and moral well-being of service members and their families. The chaplain’s responsibilities include performing religious rites, conducting worship services and providing confidential counseling. They also advise commanders on religious, spiritual and moral matters. They conduct religious worship and perform other spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith or denomination. Provide spiritual and moral guidance and assistance to members. They provide spiritual guidance to anyone in need. They oversee a full program of religious ministries, including workshops and counseling. They usually work in offices, hospitals, and places of worship. Those assigned to sea duty work aboard ships. Those assigned to land combat units sometimes work outdoors. Specifically, the military Chaplin is responsible for 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 and counseling service members and their families. Although Chaplains are not typically licensed clinical counselors, they adhere to absolute confidentiality and are prepared to help people with many work-related issues, combat stress, deployment, marriage and family, substance abuse, grief and finances.
Chaplain need geographic knowledge as any other army officer does. This particularly applies to those army Chaplains who are assigned to go to the field which might be anywhere in the word and during distressing situations such as war. They need to be aware of geopolitics and the attributes such as culture and economy of the physical locations which influence military operations not just for the sake of those operations but also for providing spiritual and moral guidance to the people who need help. Since, they can be assigned to a place of war, they also need a strategic understanding of geography and the changing biophysical and human environment. Another major responsibility of the army is to provide protection, humanitarian aid and assistance during disasters where it is crucial for a Chaplain to understand what the geographic context and situation at the place is to provide spiritual assistance and sustain hope in people. They also need to be up to date with new technologies such as remote sensing and GIS and should have a working knowledge of interpreting maps. Furthermore, to provide counseling effectively, it is a better approach to be able to empathize to where people come from, which also requires one have a better geographic knowledge.
Geographers at work: Military geographers, Physical geographers, Environmental geographers, GIS and remote sensing specialists, human geographers, social geographers, environmental geographers.
Recommended College Courses: Human geography, Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems, Advanced GIS, Remote Sensing, Introduction to Physical Geography, Environmental Management, Introduction in Environmental Geography, Natural Resource Use and Management, Regional Field Studies, Landscape Biogeography, Parks and Protected Places, Remote Sensing and Earth Observation, Economic Geography.
Skills: Mapping and modeling, geographic information systems, computer and database systems, spatial analysis, map reading and interpretation, Critical Geographic Analysis, Social Theoretical Analysis.
Occupation Group: Military
Learn more about Military Chaplin (Priest) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor:
Written by Binay Thapa