The Best Kept Secret in the Navy Chaplain Corps

The following post was written by Chaplain Aaron Carlton, Deputy, Current Operations and Plans (N0973C) Office of the Chief of Navy Chaplains.

What is the best kept secret?  It’s CREDO, a chaplain-led retreat program that is found throughout the Navy and Marine Corps.  The reason I tongue-in-cheek refer to it as “the best kept secret” is because, though it has been providing great retreats at great locations for 40 years, it’s still one of those things that our troops can never know enough about.  And our sailors and marines need to know.

Here’s my confession: After coming home from an Individual Augment deployment, I had personal adjustment issues and my marriage needed some TLC.  As a chaplain, I have talked about it, briefed it, and have helped others through it, but I was experiencing that process of transition myself and needed to address it.  There’s a stigma that goes along with that.  As a spiritual leader, how could I be struggling with readjustment?  How could my family be going through such a challenging time?  But I was and it was.  No one is immune, not even clergy.

It was using some of the tools provided at CREDO retreats that helped us turn the corner.  CREDO is designed to help with growth and healthy family relationships.  When you set time aside to go to one of these retreats, you are making an investment in health and resilience.  Here is some feedback from a military spouse and recent retreat attendee:

“I was at the Marriage Retreat in February.  I would like to thank you guys again for allowing us to have the opportunity to try and enrich our marriage.  We had many painful things we had to work on and because we learned about our ‘love languages’ we both have a better understanding of one another.  We have made daily efforts to kindle our ‘love languages’ and are taking our marriage one day-at-a-time.  We both feel the same when I say we hope that we will be able to work through this extremely difficult time in our marriage and hope we will make it…’till death do us part.  Thank you, without this opportunity we would not be where we needed to be at in this stage in our marriage.  Our marriage owes you guys so much.”

That’s the thing with personal growth or improving your marriage or strengthening your family, it doesn’t happen without being intentional and investing the time.  And just like going to the gym and improving your physical health, it takes time and energy and focus.  That’s what CREDO provides: a safe environment, time to focus, and tools to help you be intentional about yourself or your relationships.

Let your sailors and marines know.  In these challenging times, with so much on the line, we can’t afford to keep it a ‘secret.’  For more information on retreats and retreat centers near you, visit us at