Chaplain retired from Army, then served 30 years in American Legion

Monday, Larry L. Vollink made an important announcement on Facebook. He stated, “After 30 years as Michigan American Legion Chaplain, I am officially retiring as of today, July 11, 2021.”

Vollink has spent a lifetime serving others. Among his many accomplishments, he was the Michigan Wing Chaplain at Civil Air Patrol.

Furthermore, Vollink retired as a Chaplain at VA Ann Arbor Med Center. Likewise, he retired after 20 years in the Army. Through his long career, Vollink “preached over 5,000 sermons, wrote over 300 articles; delivered prayers in Congress.”

Long History of the Chaplain Corps

The Army states, “the Continental Congress giving chaplains official recognition on July 29, 1775.” They are responsible for spiritual well being of their units. This role extends to military families as well.

However, they are also required to assist those of all faiths. Even acting as a counselor for those who choose not to practice religion, but still want guidance.

Although they are historically non-combatants, Chaplains have always been on the front lines. Moreover, the Army has stated, “chaplains have been involved in every campaign that the U.S. Army has fought. “Often risking life and limb to help in any way they can.

An interesting fact is they do not hold command. The separation of church and state, specified in Title X of the U.S. Code, limits what they can do. The highest rank one can achieve is Major General. However, even as a two star general, they cannot impose UCMJ or even approve leave requests. Despite lacking many “benefits” of being an officer, Chaplains continue to sign up to serve their country.

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