Religious Support: To Casualties and the dying
This section contains information about sacraments, rites and prayers for casualties and the dying in combat operations.
Performing or providing for religious support to the dying is the first step in honoring the dead. Sacraments are administered by either ordained or appropriate lay persons when a chaplain of the soldier's own faith is unavailable. The emphasis is on "emergency". Since time is critical in any emergency situation, especially combat operations, religious support actions should be kept brief.
Religious support to casualties may be at the location of injury, at a casualty collection point, or at some other location. Casualties that can not be moved, will require visitation by the Unit Ministry Team (UMT) to perform and provide religious support. Soldiers may request sacraments, rites, and ordinances which are not part of the UMT's own religion. Chaplains may be asked to perform or provide religious support to those of different faiths, not of their own faith. A chaplain is not required to perform or provide religious support to soldiers of different faiths, if doing so would be contrary to the tenets of their denomination or the dictates of their own conscience. Unit ministry team members are responsible for performing or providing religious support and ensuring that religious support tasks are accomplished for all soldiers.
If a dying soldier desires/needs religious support and a chaplain is unavailable, the chaplain is unavailable, the chaplain assistant, commanding officer, platoon leader, or another soldier may voluntarily repeat with the soldier the prayers in this section. It is recommended that the examples of prayers be carried by company commanders and platoon leaders at all times.
If a dying soldier wants to be baptized, and a chaplain is unavailable, any Christian person may administer emergency baptism, as listed on the following page:
*Recognize and be sensitive to the differences and requirements concerning baptism. Respect the desires of the one being baptized.
* For those desiring baptism by immersion you may say the following: "In obedience to the command of our Lord and Savior I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen"
* For those individuals desiring or accepting pouring as a method of baptism, pour water three times on the brow of the soldier being baptized while saying the soldier's first name and "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen."
*Report the facts (action taken, date, time, place and, soldier's name) to a chaplain immediately.
: Casualty Prayer Examples
If a dying Catholic soldier desires religious support and a Chaplain is unavailable, the chaplain assistant, commanding officer, platoon leader, or another soldier may voluntarily repeat "The Hail Mary", "The act of contrition", and make "The sign of the Cross" with the soldier.
The Hail Mary: "Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
The Act of contrition: "O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offended Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy Grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin, Amen"
The sign of the Cross: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
If a dying Protestant soldier desires religious support and a chaplain is unavailable, the chaplain assistant, commanding officer, platoon leader, or another soldier, may voluntarily repeat "The Lord's Prayer", "The Apostles' Creed" and "The Prayer for the sick and Wounded" with the soldier.
The Lord's Prayer. "Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen."
The Apostles' Creed.
"I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sitteth at right hand of God the Father, almighty. From thence He shall come to Judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy-
Catholic church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting, Amen."
Prayer for the sick and wounded:
" O Lord, in your mercy behold, is it , and relieve your servant. Give him comfort in the knowledge of your love and sure confidence in your care. Defend him from the danger of the enemy and keep him in spiritual peace and safety; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
Eastern Orthodox Christian Soldiers:
If a dying Eastern Orthodox Christian soldiers desires religious support and a chaplain is unavailable, the chaplain assistant, commanding officer, platoon leader, or another soldier may voluntarily repeat with the soldier the following prayers:
* "Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us!" (Repeat this phrase three times)
" Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen."
"O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O master, pardon our transgressions.
O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name's sake. Amen."
" Lord have mercy!" (Repeat this phrase three times)
"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Amen."
"The Father is my hope, the Son is my refuge, the Holy Spirit is my protector; O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee!"
"Beneath your compassion we take refuge, O Virgin Theotokos. Despise not our prayer in our adversity, but deliver us from harm, O only pure and blessed one."
The following brief prayer may be substituted for the above, in support of a dying Eastern Orthodox Christian soldier:
"With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of thy servant, where there is neither sickness nor sorrow, and no more sighing, but life everlasting. Amen."
: Last Requests
If a dying Jewish soldier desires religious support and a chaplain is unavailable, the chaplain assistant, commanding officer, platoon leader, or another soldier may voluntarily repeat with the soldier the following prayers: "The Shema", "The Confession for the Critically ill", or "The 23rd Psalm-A Psalm of David".
The Shema: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One."
The Confession for the critically ill: "Lord my God, God of my fathers; before Thee I confess that in Thy hand alone rests my healing or my death. If it be thy will, grant me a perfect healing. Yet if my death fully determined by thee, I will in love accept it at thy hand. Then may my death be an atonement for all sins, transgressions, and for all the wrong which I have committed before Thee, Amen."
The 23rd Psalm-A Psalm of David: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me: Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
: Last Requests
If a dying Muslim soldier desires religious support and a chaplain is unavailable, the chaplain assistant, commanding
officer, platoon leader, or another soldier may voluntarily repeat with the soldier, the following prayers: "The Shahada" or "The Prayers for the Dying".
The Shahada: "There is no God except for Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah. Amen."
The Prayers for the dying. "Allah is great! "(Repeat this four times.) Oh God, I asked of thee a perfect faith, a sincere assurance, a reverent heart, a remembering tongue, a good conduct of commendation, and a true repentance, repentance before death, rest at death, and forgiveness and mercy after death, clemency at the reckoning, victory in paradise and escape from the fire, by Thy mercy, O mighty one, O Forgiver, Lord increase me in knowledge and join me unto good."
*"O Lord, may the end of my life be the best of it; may my closing acts be my best acts, and may the best days be the day when I shall meet Thee. Amen."
After a soldier has breathed his last breath, his eyes should be gently closed and the following prayer recited on the soldier's behalf:
* "O Allah! Make his affair light for him, and render easy what he is going to face after this, and bless him with thy vision, and make his new abode better for him than the one he has left behind. Amen."
In the absence of the transfer/graves registration officer or theater commander, the senior officer in the area decides which type of burial is necessary: emergency/hasty, separate, group, trench, or unidentified dead. Enemy remains are handled with respect and are buried with human dignity. Burials will not be adjacent to U.S. soldiers' billeting, mess, or assembly areas.
Emergency Burials: An emergency burial takes place on the battlefield when conditions do not permit evacuation.
Graves are located as near as possible to the scene of death. Sites are selected with reference to relocation and identification. Graves are not dispersed; easy recovery is essential and protection from water is desired.
Group Burials: A group burial is a common grave of two or more soldiers' remains. The UMT should ensure that these procedures are carried out with dignity and honor being shown for the deceased. Those soldiers detailed to this type of burial duty will in all probability need ministry provided to help them face and deal with their own feelings and emotions.
Trench Burials: A trench burial is resorted to when casualties are heavy, whereby a trench is prepared and the soldiers' remains (both identified and unidentified) are laid in the trench side by side, thus preventing the necessity of digging and filling individual graves.
Distinct areas for separate graves, trench graves, or group burials are allotted to each soldier regardless of his nationality. Most faith groups endorse digging of graves, whether separate, group or trench. By tradition and custom most faith groups request the body be placed in the east/west direction with the feet toward the east. Whenever practicable, a separate burial is given to the remains of each deceased soldier.
Unidentifiable Dead: It is a standing operation procedure (SOP) for the deceased to be identified prior to burial. However, in combat operations this is not always possible due to intense conflict, mass casualties or mutilated remains. Following the hostilities, graves registration personnel or members of the unit will return to unearth the remains and proceed with the identification process.
Burial of Contaminated Remains: Disposition are accomplished after cessation of hostilities or as soon as the tactical situation and other resources permit. The entire burial site is marked with the standard North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) NBC marker and may become a toxic waste site after removal of the bodies. Decontamination of remains is an absolute priority.
Commanders and leaders at every level are responsible for providing services and ceremonies for members of their units and deceased allied personnel for whom the commander is responsible. The senior officer ensure that the proper graves registration document is completed. Completion of the graces registration document is essential and should provide and accurate location of remains and assist with the return of the remains to the country of the origin for proper final interment.
It should be noted that most world religions condone, if not prefer, hasty burials.
Memorial Prayer Examples:
Military funerals, memorial services and ceremonies follow honorable military traditions. Each final tribute draws from and adds to that tradition.
The following prayers have been selected from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths as possible models for memorial services or ceremonies in the military tradition.
In the absence of a chaplain representing the same faith group as the deceased, the chaplain assistant, commanding officer, platoon leader, or another soldier may voluntarily read one of the following prayers appropriate to that particular faith group at the time of the burial service.
Catholic Soldiers: In the event of the death of a Catholic soldier, the following prayer may be said:
"Eternal rest grant unto him (her), O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him (her). May his (her) souls and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."
Protestant Soldiers: In the event of the death of a Protestant soldier, the following prayer may be said:
"Depart, dear brother (sister), out of this world in the name of the Father who created thee, in the name of the Son who redeemed thee, and in the name of the Spirit who made thee whole. Amen."
Eastern Orthodox Christian Soldiers: In the event of the death of an Eastern Orthodox Christian soldier, the following prayer may be said:
"O God of spirits, and of all flesh, who hast trampled down death and overthrown the Devil and given life to Thy world; do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the soul(s) of Thy departed servant(s) (state soldier's name), in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Pardon every transgression which he (she) (they) has (have) committed, whether by word or deed or thought. For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind; because there is no man who lives yet does not sin; for Thou alone art without sin; Thy righteousness is to all eternity; and Thy word is truth. For Thou art the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Thy servant(s) (state soldier's name) who has (have) fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe, glory, together with Thy Father who is from everlasting and Thine all-holy good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen."
Jewish Soldiers: In the event of the death of a Jewish soldier, the following prayer may be said:
"You sun shall no more go down, neither shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. Amen."
Muslim Soldiers: In the event of the death of a Muslim soldier, the following prayers may be said: (The person who leads in prayer should stand and face toward Mecca, if possible.)
"Allah is Great!" (Repeat this phrase four times.) "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet." "Glory be to Thee, O Allah, and praise. Thy praise is glorified, and there is no God other than Thee." "O Allah! Have mercy on Muhammad, just as Thou hadst mercy and Thou sendst peace and blessing and hadst compassion on Abraham. Surely Thou art Praiseworthy, the Great!" "O Allah! Forgive those of us who are still living and those who are dead' those of us who are present and those who are absent, and our minors and our elders. O Allah! Let the one whom Thou keepest alive from among us live his life according to Islam, and let the one whom Thou causest to die from among us, die as a believer." "Peace and Allah's mercy be upon you. Amen."
Reconstitution is a major mission for a division/corps. The high lethality of the AirLand Operation may result in severe taxing of resources and numerous casualties which will critically degrade the combat effectiveness of some units. Reconstitution may be defined as those actions planned and implemented by commanders to restore ineffective units to a desired level of combat effectiveness, commensurate with mission requirements and availability of resources and time. Two basic types of reconstitution are reorganization and regeneration.
Reconstitution is a critical time of multiple ministry opportunities for UMTs. During the time the UMTs will be actively engaged in proving intense ministry and counseling for survivors. They will be engaged in conducting memorial services/ceremonies in timely fashions. The UMT will be seeking to replenish possible spiritual depletion for survivors and at the same time, seek to provide encouragement and resources of faith for replacements that are yet to face combat. Also, it is important that during reconstitution the UMTs proving ministry be replenished and ministered to. Replenishment of personnel, and supplies for UMTs must be a top priority.
The Reconstitution Assessment and Evaluation Team (RAET), which may include a UMT, is continuously involved in the process of estimating the need for reconstitution. The UMT's role is to assess those subjective factors which affect unit cohesion and morale.
As a member of RAET, the staff chaplain will contact the unit's UMTs to project the number of additional UMTs needed at the reconstitution site to assist the units.
Unit UMTs will suffer from the same degradation as the unit they serve. Some may have been injured, or fatigued and unable to provide support to their units.
Reorganization: Reorganization can be immediate or deliberate. Immediate reorganization quickly shifts assets and restores the unit to minimum levels of combat effectiveness. Deliberate reorganization occurs when greater resources are available and there is a need for a more intensive of the nature of the reorganization. The UMTs must be informed and aware of the nature of the reorganization so they can design and implement intentional religious support that enhances rather than impedes during reorganization.
Regeneration: Regeneration can be incremental or whole-unit. Incremental regeneration is the infusion of individual replacements and single items of equipment. Whole-unit regeneration is the infusion of new units or sub-elements into a degraded organization, which is in a stand down posture. Regeneration of a unit can be tough time for a unit. The UMT can help bring unity by providing religious support that meets the spiritual needs of all and yet is sensitive to the differences in the needs of individuals, and even different groups within the whole of the organization.
Religious support in the reconstitution site must be flexible and time sensitive. Whether the time allotted is a matter of hours, days, or weeks, it is imperative that the UMT approach religious support with a focus on: the assessment phase and the pastoral care phase.
Assessment Phase: The first 24 hours will be prime-time for showers, mess, and sleep for fatigued soldiers. The most a UMT may hope to accomplish during these period is being visible and accessible while conducting a religious support needs assessment.
Pastoral Care Phase. The reconstitution site UMT will continue religious support until such time as the organic UMTs are ready to assume their duties. At this time, coordination will be made between UMTs and commanders ensure a smooth transition. A detailed evaluation of the unit will be made by organic UMT concerning the morale and welfare of the soldiers.