That is what it says on my military ID card. It refers to my category in the Geneva Conventions. I am not a combatant. It means that in a war, the other side is not allowed to target me in any way. If captured, I do not become a POW. I become a detainee. The difference is significant. A detainee is allowed to continue with his/her assigned tasking. Failure to support that requires releasing a detainee to go home.
In September 2001, my infantry battalion did an exercise with the Royal Marines. One morning, they crept up on our perimeter, "killed" the guards, and then overran our camp. I woke with a Royal Marine yelling "whar's yer weapon?" I said "chaplain." He turned and shot someone else.
I have every confidence that if the US ever gets into armed conflict with the British, my status will be respected and protected.
The challenge is that I do not expect us to get into a war with the British. This is a good thing. However, the folks with whom we get into armed conflict now have no respect whatsoever for such convention. It is in that light that I have started working on my tan belt with the Marine Corps. I have learned a couple of things while doing it.
The first is that I have most of the moves down at this point.
The second is that the Marines with whom I am working are half my age. Maybe starting this at age 47 was not the brightest idea I have ever had. Ouch. It is the weekend right now. I must tell you that I am happy about that. My ribs are no longer tender.
On a separate, but related note, my dad took my brother and me to the range last night. Dad can shoot. My brother did okay as well. With me...well...there is clear reason that chaplains do not carry. My dad kept telling me to keep the muzzle up. I finally said that there is a pill for that.
Have a good one everybody.