Antal, Christopher (Interview transcript and video), 2021

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Title

Antal, Christopher (Interview transcript and video), 2021

Contributor

Guedalia, Charlotte (Interviewer)

Description

Christopher Antal was born in New York in c. 1971. He decided to become a Unitarian Universalist chaplain in the military in 2005. Because he was not registered for the Selective Service and had passed the age of 25, he requested a moral waiver to register which was not accepted until 2008. He then entered the chaplain candidate program of the New York Army National Guard. He got his ecclesiastical endorsement in December 2010 and was accessioned as a full chaplain in April 2011, and promoted to first lieutenant. He was ordered to go to Afghanistan in September 2012, where he provided religious support to the soldiers of his battalion of the New York Army National Guard that was attached to the 3rd Infantry Division based in Kandahar. The task given to the Army Chaplain Corps was to “nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the dead.” Veterans Day in 2012 was on a Sunday, and on that day he gave a sermon criticizing the violence America had inflicted in Afghanistan. This sermon was posted on his denomination’s website, and when the batallion commander found it he started an investigation against Antal, who needed to get a lawyer to avoid losing his position as a chaplain in the Army or possibly going to prison. This began a long process in which he was released early from active duty and his GOMOR (General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand) was made part of his permanent record, which the Pentagon deemed discriminatory. In May 2014, he was promoted to captain and the GOMOR was removed from his permanent record. While in Afghanistan, Antal advocated for Afghans that worked as interpreters for the United States and had been waiting years for their promised visas. He started a letter-writing campaign to help one interpreter, Tariq, in particular. In February 2016, the campaign had succeeded and Tariq and his family arrived in New York. Antal resigned from the military in April 2016. He believes that his experience in the Army has helped him appreciate the value of life and its fragility.

Date

2021-05

Rights

video/mp4
application/pdf

Publisher

Grand Valley State University Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI, 49401.

Relation

Veterans History Project (U.S.)

Identifier

AntalC2375V

Format

In Copyright

Type

Moving Image
Text

Language

eng

Citation

Antal, Christopher, “Antal, Christopher (Interview transcript and video), 2021,” Digital Collections, accessed February 1, 2023, https://digitalcollections.library.gvsu.edu/document/48839.
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