News: Top chaplain visits MCAS Cherry Point
Story by Lance Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - The chaplain of the Marine Corps, Rear Adm. Margaret G. Kibben, visited Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to speak with Marine leaders and local members of the Navy Chaplain Corps Dec. 8.
Kibben and Capt. Rondall Brown, chaplain of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), discussed how the Navy Chaplain Corps will support 2nd MAW (Fwd.) and its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
The religious program for 2nd MAW (Fwd.) will be headed by Brown, who has served as a chaplain in Somalia, Desert Storm, Iraq and with police and fire departments responding to the attacks on Sept. 11.
“I’m excited about going,” Brown said. “I look forward to the ministry there. That’s where I need to be. When chaplains go to the Marines, we look forward to deployment.”
Brig. Gen. Glenn M. Walters, the commanding general of 2nd MAW (Fwd.), said often times in deployments Marines put the mission before their own personal welfare, and the Navy Chaplain Corps helps look out for Marines’ quality of life.
“An effective religious program serves those qualitative aspects, is a force multiplier, and increases overall individual and family readiness,” said Walters.
Deployments can put unique stressors on Marines, sailors and their families. Chaplains are there in garrison and in the field to offer counseling to help relieve some of the increases in stress.
“Because Marines are facing so many challenging things these days, it’s very easy for a Marine to find him or herself asking some very critical questions that they would not be able to ask anybody else,” said Kibben. “The chaplains that work here understand that religious ministry is important to the welfare of Marines wherever they are.”
While visiting the 2nd MAW chaplain’s office, Kibben received a phone call from Lt. Cmdr. Emory Lussi, a chaplain currently forward deployed with Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 3 to Afghanistan. They discussed the unique problems Marines face while serving in a combat zone.
Kibben’s visit to the station concluded with a meeting at Miller’s Landing with chaplains and religious program specialists from Cherry Point, II Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations East. She discussed how being a chaplain is a heavy responsibility and how the chaplains can make themselves more available and appealing to Marines.
“It’s always great to have the chaplain of the Marine Corps meeting with the commanding generals, major subordinate commands and meeting with the religious ministry teams assigned to the Marine Corps,” said Brown. “When you get the deputy chief of chaplains coming down and providing encouragement and inspiration to them, showing concern and involvement in all their activities, it’s a great morale booster.”