By Rear Adm. Margaret Grun Kibben
Chief of Chaplains
Since 1775, Navy chaplains have supported the spiritual well-being and resilience of our warfighters in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. In times of war and in times of peace, we serve as a reminder of the presence of God, where and when it matters, bringing what matters to our Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and families through the delivery of religious ministry.
“The Chaplain Corps plays an important role in the professional, physical and spiritual readiness of our force. What chaplains bring in spiritual readiness is real and desperately needed.”
Operating forward at sea on the decks of carriers to destroyers to amphibs; Ashore in chapels, training commands, naval hospitals and prisons, we and our Religious Program Specialists are there where it matters, eating, breathing and enduring the same challenges as our people.
Organic to the command, we are able to be fully present with our people when it matters; when our Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and families face the storms of life and the ever-present danger inherent to the military mission. It’s a personal approach to ministry that demonstrates our commitment to treating everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of one’s religious beliefs.
“Throughout my career, I have relied on the support and counsel of my very first chaplain from the Naval Academy, a chaplain who has served not only as a mentor, but also my moral compass as a leader. Chaplains help our leaders understand what it means to operate with a moral compass. We also lean on the Chaplain Corps almost more than any other organization in the U.S. Navy when we’re in crisis to take care of our people.”
Chaplains are also where it matters within the commander’s circle, proactively engaging with them on the spiritual welfare of their people.
Throughout our history, chaplains have been a moral voice and compass as the commander’s trusted agent and advocate for our people coping with the moral injuries of war and struggling with moral and ethical decision-making in their day to day life.
“A chaplain is uniquely able to relate to every person in the command from the most senior to the most junior because they approach all of us as equals, as friends. You have touched every life that has served at sea in those 239 years, finding ways to improve lives. You are here, with us, where, when, and with what matters.”
Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michelle Howard
For 239 years, Navy chaplains have served on the frontlines of faith and in times of acute human need, crisis and grief. We are there to help our people in the midst of joys, hardships, trials and suffering; to help them make meaning of the moral injury they encounter in war and to help our people discover hope, nourish their own spiritual identity, and find their own faith voice.
Whether active or reserve, our 1,043 chaplains and 980 Religious Program Specialists are committed to being where it matters, when it matters, with what matters because our people matter.
Happy Anniversary, chaplains!
Learn more about the Navy Chaplain Corps and Chief of Navy Chaplains in All Hands Magazine’s Focus on Service piece.
Watch the 2014 Chaplain Corps anniversary video below: