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    Navy Chaplain Corps Continues 234 Years of Service to Fleet

    Navy Chaplain Corps Continues 234 Years of Service to Fleet

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Amie Gonzales | Cmdr. Dean Hoelz, USS Wasp Command chaplain, gives the benediction during Task Group...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Amie Gonzales 

    USS WASP (LHD 1)   

    CARIBBEAN SEA — The U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps celebrated 234 years of continuous service in providing ministry, guidance, counsel and care to the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, Nov. 28.

    The Chaplain Corps has been responsive to the diverse ministerial needs of the sea services and their family members. Their mission is to provide religious ministry and support, facilitate for all religious beliefs, care for all Sailors, Marines and their family and friends, and advise commanders to ensure the free exercise of religion.

    "In war and in peace, they support the free exercise of religion for those who serve our country, facilitating the religious practices of all," said Chief of Navy Personnel Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson. "Navy chaplains advise commanders on moral, ethical, and spiritual matters and extend spiritual guidance and pastoral care whenever and wherever needed. Chaplains and religious program specialists contribute daily to the readiness and resilience of our profile."

    The Continental Navy was approved by the United States Congress, Oct. 13, 1775; on Nov. 28, of that same year they adopted Navy regulations that reflected those of the Royal Navy. Although it does not specifically mention chaplains in the Navy, the second article of these regulations requires divine services be performed onboard and a sermon preached on Sundays; this would require an ordained clergyman and the need for Navy chaplains.

    "I think the Chaplain Corps is important in the military setting because warriors understand the sacrifices, the difficulties of combat, of being away from family and loved ones and from home. War isn't an easy decision that nations make and the men and women that fight it, I don't think it's an easy thing for them to do," said Cmdr. Dean Hoelz, Wasp's Command chaplain.

    "As a Christian chaplain I think people need to hear words of comfort, hope, forgiveness and even outside the Christian [faith], chaplains from other faiths are going to speak about hope, comfort, aid and support in those times that are very difficult," Hoelz said. "Even if you're not fighting someone, just being away from home is hard."

    Hoelz added that in addition to being available to the crew, they also serve as a sounding board to commanding officers giving insight on ethics and morals of a situation. They also extend their services to family members.

    "If we are in home port we do pre-marriage counseling for couples and baptisms on board. The CREDO [Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation] chaplains stay busy doing retreats for married couples, couples about to get married, personal growth retreats for men and women, wounded warrior retreats and for spouses of military families," said Hoelz. "So that's how we are tied into the families, not just the service member."

    The Chaplain Corps has grown over the years, there are a lot of places that chaplains go now that they didn't in the past. "There are more billets now with the Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines. You find chaplains pretty much anywhere around the globe," said Hoelz.

    Wasp is currently deployed on Southern Partnership Station-Amphib 2009 with Destroyer Squadron 40 and embarked Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force. SPS is part of the Partnership of the Americas Maritime Strategy that focuses on building interoperability and cooperation in the region to meet common challenges.



    Date Taken: 11.28.2009
    Date Posted: 11.30.2009 22:26
    Story ID: 42175
    Location: USCENTCOM, AT SEA

    Web Views: 309
    Downloads: 206