A military chaplain ministers to military personnel and, in most cases, their families and civilians working for the military. In some cases they also work with local civilians within a military area of operations. They may also liaise with local leaders in an effort to understand the role of religion as both a factor in hostility and war and as a force for reconciliation and peace. Military chaplains normally represent a religion or faith group but work with military personnel of all faiths, some countries, like the Netherlands and Belgium, also employ humanist chaplains who offer a non-religious approach to chaplain support. In the United Kingdom, the Ministry of Defence employs chaplains, naval chaplains called to service with the Royal Marines undertake a commando course at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone and if successful serve with a front-line Royal Marines unit. British Army chaplains undertake seven-weeks training at The Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre Amport House, in the United States, the term, nomination, is not generally applied to the process of becoming a military chaplain. Individuals volunteer, and if they are accepted, they are commissioned as military officers in the Chaplain Corps. Neither the government as a whole nor the military in particular will be put into the position of determining whether an individual is a bona fide priest, minister, rabbi, imam, etc. Although ordination is normally required for service, some equivalent status is accepted for individuals from religious groups which do not have ordination. The Geneva Conventions are silent on whether chaplains may bear arms, however, the Conventions do state that chaplains are non-combatants, they do not have the right to participate directly in hostilities. It is generally assumed that during World War II, chaplains were unarmed, crosby describes an incident where a US chaplain became a trained tank gunner and was removed from the military for this entirely illegal, not to mention imprudent action. Fraser asks, if the shot, what would the harvest be. Apart from three ringing cheers from the whole battalion, other nations, notably Norway, Denmark and Sweden, and also Australia, make it an issue of individual conscience. Since 1909 US chaplains on operations have been accompanied by an armed chaplain assistant, however, perhaps on this occasion it was felt that an unarmed uniformed man would draw unwelcome attention. Captured chaplains are not considered prisoners of war and must be returned to their home nation unless retained to minister to prisoners of war, inevitably, serving chaplains have died in action. The US Army and Marines lost 100 chaplains killed in action during World War II, the third highest casualty rate behind the infantry, many have been decorated for bravery in action. In 2006, training materials obtained by U. S, among the training materials, there included an insurgent sniper training manual that was posted on the Internet. Among its tips for shooting U. S. troops, there read, Killing doctors, Military chaplains are often supervised by a chaplain general or chief of chaplains, on the staff of the leader of the nations military forces
Mass in an Austrian military hospital, 1916
An Orthodox priest administers Holy Communion to a wounded Russian soldier during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905.
Anglican Archbishop Riley addressing a crowd as 'Chaplain-General to the AIF'
Austrian Jewish military service during WWI (1914-18).