The US Army chaplain assistant, military occupation (MOS) 56M, is a specially trained Soldier qualified to assist military chaplains in religious affairs. Religious affairs (JP 1-05, 2013) consist of religious support (direct pastoral care to friendly forces) and religious advisement (advisement offered to commanders on the impact of religion on military operations). When conducting counterinsurgency operations among a religious population, religious advisement can be mission critical. Chaplains are noncombatants with some restrictions on participation in operational activities; their enlisted assistants are combatants without any such restrictions. This paper discusses the author's personal experience as a counterinsurgent in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

US Army Chaplain Assistants and Counterinsurgency Operations