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Artifact Friday: The Type I Chaplain Kit

With Easter approaching this weekend, we thought it would be nice to highlight a special artifact in our collection.

The Type 1 Chaplain Kit (Protestant) has been in service since the latter stages of the Korean War.

During World War 1 and World War 2, chaplain kits were contained in leather suitcases and some of the items were actual glass for the church and Communion services. These were beautiful but not conducive for combat action.

However, as warfare changed, so did the Chaplain kits.

Instead of leather cases which were bulky and hard to carry, they changed to the weather-proof fabric which was lighter and more durable. They also had better-carrying straps. Type 1 has a body (secure) strap that would make it better to carry into battle. Inside of this kit, it has cloth sewn into the top cover that describes each piece included in the kit.

This includes the

chalice, chalice insert, candle holders, flame protectors, bottles, altar cloths, Bible, prayer book, and Bible stand to just name a few. Usually, there would be a large piece of foam with a spot cut out for each piece of the set. However, the kit in the museum’s possession lacks the foam insert.

One of the unique features of our chaplain’s kit is that it comes with several Protestant worship books. These could be added at the specific request of the chaplain depending on the mission and the number of men under the shepherding of the chaplain. These books contain hymns, responsive readings, and assigned Scripture passages for the types of services that the chaplain would do.

Chaplains would change their services for certain holidays as well including Easter and Christmas, so that soldiers on the battlefield could observe these as if they were at home.

The US military chaplains go where they are sent. Very often they are on the frontlines with the soldiers which is why their kit is made easy to carry. Their devotion to their duty should be commended as they are bringing hope and comfort to soldiers when they need it the most.

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