By Rear Adm. Margaret Grun Kibben
Chief of Chaplains
For 240 years, Navy chaplains have been where it matters, when it matters, with what matters to ensure our people are able to practice and grow in their faith, regardless of where the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard send them.
From the decks of carriers, destroyers and amphibious ships at sea around the world, to the battlefield, to naval hospitals, to Coast Guard cutters and stations, chaplains have been there with our warfighters to provide and facilitate support for their religious needs.
Even in the midst of a generation that seems increasingly distant from matters of religion and faith, chaplains are there to support service members who wish to develop their own faith identity and connect with something greater than themselves.
“For the last 240 years, our Navy and Marine Corps’ chaplains have proven to be a steady and calming presence through even the most tumultuous times. Their counsel and care for our nation’s Sailors and Marines not only inspires hope among the men and women who have volunteered to go into harm’s way, but also directly enhances the resiliency of our force.” –Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus
Embedded in the command, chaplains are privileged to walk alongside our people during their most joyous and most challenging moments. Regardless of differences in religious or personal convictions, chaplains bring a message of hope to those who feel hopeless; a message of caring, when the last thing they feel is cared for; and we bring a sense of comfort, when everything around them is beyond uncomfortable, it’s painful and even heart-wrenching.
“Chaplains offer spiritual leadership and sound moral and ethical advisement in the command, advisement that helps keep one’s moral compass calibrated.”
-Vice Adm. Ted Carter, Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy
By modeling honesty, integrity, loyalty and compassion, chaplains will continue to help our people live out our Navy and Marine Corps core values of honor, courage and commitment.
After more than 12 years of prolonged conflict and engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the role of chaplains to bring hope and pastoral care remains vital to individual and family resilience coping with the aftermath of war. On this 240th anniversary of the Navy Chaplain Corps, we acknowledge the critical work of Navy chaplains, alongside our partners in care, to bring healing and restoration to our service members in mind, body and spirit.
For almost as long as the Navy and Marine Corps have been in existence, Navy chaplains have been there to care for our Sailors, Marines and their families as they face the challenges of military life. It is our privilege to meet our people where they are at and help connect them with the resources to thrive.
Whether active or reserve, I want to thank our religious ministry teams for their commitment to be where it matters, when it matters, with what matters because people and presence matter.
Happy Anniversary, chaplains!
Watch the 2015 Chaplain Corps anniversary video below:
Learn more about the Navy Chaplain Corps in All Hands Magazine’s Focus on Service piece.