Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “chaplains”

Marine Corps CREST Student Manual – Chaplain & Religious Program Specialist

Marine Corps MCECST Student Manual – Chaplain & Religious Program Specialist


Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How do I diagnose nerve agent poisoning?
  • How do I administer a nerve agent antidote?
  • What are the symptoms of blister agent poisoning?


Medical training manual for chaplains and other religious program specialists. The manual is divided into the following sections:

  • ANNEX A – USMC Orientation
  • ANNEX B – Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (Not provided online. An administrative overview of this program can be found at http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/MCO%201500.54A.pdf
  • ANNEX C – Combat Life Saver
  • ANNEX D – Ministry in Combat
  • ANNEX E – USMC Common Combat Skills
  • ANNEX G – Rifle Familiarization

The manual includes chapters on Pastoral Care in a Mass Casualty Situation, Treat Chemical Agent Casualties, M16/ M4 Service Rifle Familiarization and Control Hemorrhage .

Aside from providing basic medical information useful in battlefield stories, the skills described here could easily be incorporated into stories of priests and ministers with surprising skill sets in civilian life. Kind of like Shepherd Book in the Firefly television series.


Chaplains with Marines in Vietnam, 1962-1971

Chaplains with Marines in Vietnam, 1962-1971. Cdr Herbert L. Bergsma, CHC, USN. 1985. 240 pp.

(Paper: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/12676782)


Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What denomination was represented by CGP in Marine Chaplin documents?
  • What role did chaplains play in the “hearts and minds” activities of US forces?
  • What was it like to have Christmas services in the fields of Vietnam?
  • Where can I find a story of a priest giving communion in a minefield?


According to the preface, the aim of this work was to provide basic history of the Vietnam War and use it as context for the work of the chaplain corps and to highlight the work of some individual chaplains.

The work is divided chronologically. Some of the chapter/subheading titles refer to types of ministry. Some that might interest a writer of wartime stories include:

  • Christmas highlights
  • With the Wounded or On the Line?
  • Chaplain Participation in Major Operations
  • Easter and Passover in I Corps
  • Hearts and Minds : The Personal Response Project
  • “Greater Love Hath No Man . . .” – Death of a priest ministering on the battlefield.
  • The 3d Marine Division Memorial Children’s Hospital

Between the notes section and the index are these two helpful appendices:

  • Religious Denomination Short Titles Chaplains Corps, United States Navy
  • Navy Chaplains In Vietnam, 1962-1972 – The chaplains are listed by year. Each entry shows: name and rank, denomination, date arrived in Vietnam and first assigned unit.

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