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Chief of Chaplains

Biography of Chaplain

(Major General) Donald L. Rutherford


Chaplain Donald L. Rutherford is a native of Kinderhook, New York. Ordained as a priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany in 1981, he served as Associate Pastor of St Gabriel’s Church in Schenectady, New York; as Roman Catholic Chaplain of Albany Medical Center Hospital, Albany, New York; and as Parochial Vicar of St Mary’s Parish, Oneonta, New York.

In 1977, he received his commission through The State University of New York at Albany ROTC Program where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology. He received an educational delay from active duty in order to attend St Bernard’s Seminary of the University of Rochester, New York where he was awarded a Master of Divinity degree in 1981. In addition, in 2000 he was awarded a Master in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

Chaplain Rutherford became the 23d Chief of Chaplains, United States Army, on July 7, 2011. His previous Chaplain assignments include serving as the 22d Deputy Chief of Chaplains, United States Army, at the Pentagon in Washington DC; Command Chaplain United States Army Europe and 7th Army, Heidelberg, Germany; Command Chaplain Multi-National Corps Iraq, Camp Victory, Baghdad Iraq; XVIII Airborne Corps Chaplain, Fort Bragg North Carolina; Installation Staff Chaplain, United States Army War College and Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Community Chaplain and the 235th Base Support Chaplain, Ansbach, Germany; Division Staff Chaplain, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia; Senior Chaplain Recruiter, Office of the Chief of Chaplains, Washington, D.C.; Deputy Division Chaplain and Division Artillery Chaplain, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Upon ordination, Chaplain Rutherford served in the Army Reserve with the 364th General Hospital until 1990 when he entered active duty.

His military education includes the Chaplain Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Airborne Course, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Command and General Staff College, the Division and Installation Chaplain Courses, and the United States Army War College.

Chaplain Rutherford has served in Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Hurricane Andrew Relief, Operation Desert Thunder, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His military awards include the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the South West Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Army Superior Unit Award, the Saudi Arabia Kuwait Liberation Medal, the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, the Army Staff Identification Badge, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.