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    Always Faithful: Faithful to our service, country and our people

    Always Faithful: Faithful to our service, country and our people

    Photo By Capt. Maida Zheng | MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, California - Lt. Cmdr. James Myers, a Pennsville, N....... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Maida Zheng 

    15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

    Just like the Marine Corps motto of “Semper Fidelis” or “always faithful,” Lt. Cmdr. James Myers, a Pennsville, N. J. native has devoted his life to the service of God, Corps and his country, and has always worked toward supporting and taking care of others.

    His journey to service began in May of 1981 when he received a commission as a 2nd Lt. in the United States Marine Corps from the Citadel. The Citadel is one of six United States senior military colleges where all branches of the U.S. military are available to choose from through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

    “When I was a cadet at the Citadel, I got to see the different branches of service,” said Myers. “My father was in the Navy and my uncle was a pilot, but I didn’t know which branch of service I wanted to be a part of until I met with all the different branches.”

    Myers could have followed the example set by his father and joined the Navy, or let his love of aviation move him toward the Air Force, but he felt compelled to join the United States Marine Corps.

    Upon completion of flight school, Myers received his wings and spent the next four years of his life flying the CH-53A/D helicopter; his first duty station was in Orange County, California at Marine Corps Air Station Tustin back in 1983.

    “It’s kind of hard to believe they pay us to do this,” said Myers as he reminisced about his time as a pilot. “It’s just an amazing way to spend your day in the Marine Corps. Your missions are so wide in variety that you could do anything on any given day, from fighting fires to lifting whatever they want you to lift; we support the Marines on the ground – we did it all.”

    During his time as a pilot from 1983 until 1987, Myers completed several unit deployments to Japan in what he referred to as the “peace time Marine Corps,” and he found himself away from home a lot and thus at a crossroad.

    “Somewhere along the journey my life changed, my desires changed, and my internal compass had been reoriented to serving God full time,” Myers said. “I chose to get out. I enjoyed my time; I could have stayed, but at that time in my life, getting out seemed more attractive to me than staying in.”

    Having a newborn daughter and growing up in a very close-knit family, he felt that it was beneficial that his daughter grew up in the same environment he did, near family. The other part of his reasoning was confidence that the Marine Corps had prepared him for just about anything life can throw his way.

    “After I got out I worked in business for several years, but I felt a calling to pursue a path in ministry and when the opportunity presented itself, I went back to seminary and pastored for the next 12 years in two churches. Eventually I felt as if God was calling me to serve in the Chaplain Corps and minister to service members and their families, that’s when I started looking at the Chaplain Corps.”

    The Chaplain Corps consists of chaplains of multiple faith groups, who are commissioned Naval officers, who have the mission to “provide the spiritual and emotional care to the, service members of the Department of the Navy,” which also includes the Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

    “The Chaplain Corps gave me the opportunity to return to the service and minister to active duty service members, which is something as a pastor you don’t get the opportunity to do like we do in the Navy,” explained Myers.

    “One of the most common questions I get asked is the difference between working as a minister in the civilian world and in the military,” said Myers. “My answer is always that working with Marines and Sailors is more personal – especially during deployments. You train with them, you see them every day, you get more face time, and you understand their problems and struggles. Knowing the issues affecting someone is the first step toward leading them to recovery.”

    Myers says, the goal when working with those who need spiritual guidance is not to lead them to rely on others, but instead to give them the tools and foundation to better themselves and cope with their own issues in a positive healthy manner.

    “I encourage people to continue this journey that they’re on and I get the opportunity to travel with them,” Myers said. “That’s what I think is the most rewarding.”

    While a role of the chaplain is to guide a service member through challenges they face, Myers explains that it’s not just about the challenges, it’s about being able to celebrate the better parts together as well.

    “It’s the new children that are born or when they receive their degree, or the orders they were looking for. When you watch someone who a month before deployment tells you ‘I don’t think I am going to make it through this deployment’ and then you’re with them when they actually walk off the ship after the deployment; I mean there’s nothing that can describe that little victory. That’s the really cool part about being a Navy chaplain.”
    For those looking to join the Chaplain Corps, Myers had some simple advice that can help with their decision and better understand the difference between civilian and military ministry.

    “The Chaplain Corps is unlike any other type of ministry,” said Myers. “Being in the military itself is a challenge that you have to face whether it is doing work ups, deploying or field operations. Sometimes you are away from home for long periods of time and sometimes you cannot even talk to those you love. The hours are long and the days are full, but I am very grateful to have the opportunity to go out every single day and be used to help those in need.

    Myers’ experience spans nearly four decades. So whether he was serving the Nation as a pilot in his twenties, or transitioning to the civilian business sector, then civilian ministry, to now returning to the Naval service serving the Navy-Marine Corps team; it is safe to say that Myers has spent his life serving others as he journeys on the path to serve God and Country.

    Chaplain Myers is currently serving as the chaplain of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit where he just completed a deployment aboard the America Amphibious Ready Group and continues to lead and teach those around him every day.



    Date Taken: 04.06.2018
    Date Posted: 04.06.2018 14:05
    Story ID: 272082
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 
    Hometown: PENNSVILLE, NJ, US

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