240 Years of Service by U.S. Navy Chaplains
The U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps celebrated 240 years of Service on November 25. The community is currently made up of 1,052 chaplains and 905 Religious Program Specialists in the active and reserve components.
Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben, Chief of Chaplains, speaks of their service:
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.
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.
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!