By Sgt. 1st Class John Etheridge
Utah Army National Guard
The Utah Army National Guard Chaplain Corps inducted two officers, including the first female chaplain candidate in the organization, during a commissioning ceremony at Draper, Utah, May 12, 2021.
“Getting a chaplain or chaplain candidate is a pretty big event for us. Getting two is even bigger,” said Lt. Col. Gene Whitmore, the state support chaplain. “This is a very special day for us because we have two chaplain candidates coming on board with a lot of potential. I am delighted to say welcome to the Chaplain Corps.”
During the ceremony, the history and explanation of the importance of the officer ranks was read and both candidates, Mindy Butler and Brent Black, took the oath of office and accepted their appointments in the Utah National Guard. Butler was also promoted to second lieutenant at the event.
In attendance was Maj. Gen. Michael Turley, adjutant general, Utah National Guard, Brig. Gen. Charlene Dalto, commander, Utah Army National Guard Land Component Command, and Brent and Marilyn Jones representing the endorsing office of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
During her comments, the officiating officer, Dalto, congratulated and thanked the incoming officers on their commission.
“Thank you for stepping up and accepting the challenge of this awesome responsibility of leadership as you start your military career. I believe it is the noblest profession that someone can pursue in life. We expect great things to come out of the Chaplain’s Corps. You are filling a vital role in the military,” said Dalto.
After the ceremony, Whitmore explained the significance of the occasion saying that because of the long educational requirements that chaplains have to undertake, it is hard to find candidates who will complete them for a part-time National Guard position.
He also explained that diversifying the Chaplain Corps has been a priority over the last few years.
“Maj. Gen. Turley has [advocated] that we get religious and gender diversity in the Utah National Guard Chaplain Corps. We have been trying for many years to find females who were eligible to serve,” said Whitmore. “So, 40 years after the Army commissioned its first female chaplain on active duty, we finally have our first female candidate.”
Whitmore added that he was appreciative of having Dalto, the first female general officer in the Utah Army National Guard to officiate the ceremony.
“It was especially gratifying to get the first female general in the Utah Army National Guard, Brig. Gen. Dalto, to be present and say a few words to our first female chaplain candidate.”
Butler explained that she is excited about being the first female in the Utah Chaplain Corps and is looking forward to serving.
“I come from a family that taught me to love the United States of America and be passionate about that. This is a way I get to serve my country’s troops,” Butler said. “I’m grateful for the role I get to play, and the perspective I get to bring.”
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