President Conant, addressing 155 chaplain students gathered on Cambridge Common Saturday to celebrate the one hundred and sixty-ninth anniversary of the Army Chaplains Corps, expressed regrets over the moving of the chaplain school. Harvard, he stated, had by its traditions been particularly well suited for the school.
Late in August the training center will move to Fort Devens, where the students will be given a more thorough orientation to Army life. Almost all of the Army chaplains now on active duty are graduates of the school at Harvard.
American clergymen have been a part of the Army since a full year before the Declaration of Independence, when, on July 29, 1775, the Continental Congress created the Army Chaplains Corps by providing for the pay of chaplains in the Continental Army. No chaplains, however, were commissioned as officers in the Army until 1791, when the former system of hiring clergymen ended and a corps of chaplains, under the direction of Major John Hurt, was instituted.
After service in the War of 1812, the chaplains Corps was abolished temporarily, but in 1938 it was re-established. The new bill widened the scope of the clergymen's duties, for each chaplain was then required, in addition to his spiritual services, to act as a pedagogue for the officers' and enlisted men's children.
Thirty chaplains were on duty during the Mexican War, a new high in numbers for the corps. This record was soon surpassed, however, as one cleric was appointed to each infantry regiment during the Civil War. After the War between the States, some of the chaplains were assigned to permanent positions at Army forts and posts. In 1867, a bill of major importance was passed in Congress which put the chaplains on an equal footing with other commissioned officers.
Decorated for Gallantry
Reaching its present important status for the first time during the first World War, the Chaplains Corps expanded to a total of 2364 men. The chaplains received many awards for gallantry in action, five men being given the Distinguished Service Medal and 23 others the Distinguished Service Cross. Seven thousand chaplains are new serving with the Army on fronts all over the world.
Colonel William B. Cleary, Commandant of the Harvard Chaplain School. Respected the students, and following the speech by President Conant, took the Review which was presented