In 1971 Fort Bragg had a mandatory ‘born again’ day

In 1971 Fort Bragg had a mandatory ‘born again’ day February 27, 2012

***Guest post from John Kieffer who was with the 2nd Psyops Group with the JFK Center for Special Warfare.***

I’m wondering if there is anyone who may remember this …

In 1971 I was stationed at Ft Bragg and had to attend a mandatory hour long ‘fire and brimstone’ evangelical Christian sermon by a 4 Star General at the Main Base Chapel.

Fort Bragg main post chapel

All commissioned officers stationed at Ft Bragg, from the 18th Corps commander (3 star general) down to each and every 2LT (I was a captain), were ordered to report to the base chapel at a certain time and day (I recall it was a work day).

We were told that if we were not present we would receive an Article 15. (editor’s note: civilians, read this as ‘a serious misdemeanor charge’ -JG) 

So the chapel was packed with all the generals and highest ranks in the front pews and the lowliest company grade officers like myself up in the loft pews. For one hour a 4 star general (can’t remember his name but he may have been the FORSCOM commander) told us all in every which way to “accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.” All of us in the top area were looking at each and rolling our eyes. When the general was done, he dismissed us and that was that. A few weeks later I was told that he had retired.

Very strange incident.

***Editor’s note: Richard Dawkins will be speaking 50 feet in front of this same building on March 31st. Free, open to all.***

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Accept Jesus into your life or get Non-Judicial Punishment.

  • bahrfeldt

    Around the same time in boot camp I attended church services weekly, I chose the services which were the shortest walk from the barracks. The alternative was a “moral lecture” of about three times the lengths. I knew of no one who opted for the alternative. I knew of no one who attended services once we left boot camp, except a few who attended for Easter and Christmas. Then again, I did not hang around with officers.

  • Paul Weaver

    When I was at Bragg in the late ’90s, we had one extremely evangelical Battalion Commander. Among other obnoxious things he did centered around the unit’s Staff Ride up to Gettysburg in about ’96. I requested to go along (the Staff Ride was Officer-oriented, and I was an E-5 Battery FDC Chief, but thought maybe I could sneak in due to my interest in Civil War history), but was denied. My FDO told me afterwards it was a very good thing that I hadn’t gone – the entire trip was nothing but an excuse to preach.

    He said that on the whole tour of the battlefield, at each stop either the Battalion CDR or one of his favorite LTs – one known to be a VERY fundamentalist Christian – would give a short spiel of what had occurred at the battle at that site, then find some dubious connection to some passage in the Bible – then use that as an excuse to preach hellfire and damnation at the assembled Officers.

    This same Battalion CDR required his whole BN to run to Pike Field for a prayer breakfast – one I refused to attend, which got me massively chewed out by the BN S3 and CDR. I eventually found some support among the NCO Corps, but thought I was going to have to go through EO to prevent an ART15.

    I haven’t seen nearly as much of that crap through the rest of my career – I just retired last December – but for a long while there it wasn’t even concealed. The fundies really wanted to take control of the military, and didn’t much care what laws or regulations they had to break to do it.

  • I never ran into this kind of religious thingy, as a Naval Hospital Corpsman, back in the 1940s.

    I wonder if the incentive for this Fundamentalist conversion efforts received impetus from

    the Rev. Rushdooney rantings in about the

    1950s? If so, was it organized or just the

    pay my way into heaven

    dues of various isolated fundy fanatics.