Chaplain Staneglass became a regular character in Beetle Bailey during the late 1950s and still appears today. Mort Walker created him because he felt the men at Camp Swampy needed some moral guidance. His struggles and failures to make them behave properly is a good source for humor.
The Chaplain Corps of the United States Army is comprised of ordained clergy representing multiple faiths. They are commissioned Army officers and are often assisted by enlisted men. Their purpose is to offer religious worship services, counseling and moral support to the armed forces in both peacetime and war.
The Chaplain has a number of different functions in the strip. He encourages the men to attend services on Sundays. He often bores them with his sermons. He has helped Beetle escape from Sarge by providing him sanctuary in the church. He prays earnestly for survival before eating Cookie’s meals. He discusses personal issues with the men. He tries to temper Sarge’s more violent tendencies.
Sometimes the Chaplain has to deal with his own inner demons, as in the episode above. To set a good example for the men he needs to contain his anger in situations like this. In the end he manages to control himself but gives Beetle a stern rebuke.
This is the first Sunday page from 1964 in our Timeline series. Check back next week for a new installment.
– Brian Walker