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Talking with Sailors

Trust is Everything:

Chaplains serving the fleet

When you see or hear the word "chaplain," the usual association is religion. Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, chief of chaplains, explains that professional naval chaplaincy includes both religious and other kinds of support, even after a traumatic event, like a sexual assault.


"April is Sexual Assault Prevention and Response month. Chaplains want everyone we serve to know that we're here for you, to care for you, and to ensure that you have the resources you need as a survivor," said Kibben.

Victims of sexual assault are vulnerable and in a place where trust may seem scarce. To foster trust in those who need it most, Department of the Navy regulations and policies establish and protect the compassionate care chaplains deliver to those in need, regardless of an individual's beliefs.

If you have experienced any sort of trauma ... we are here to support and take care of you without judging, in complete confidentiality." -Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben


On land or at sea, chaplains are part of a religious ministry team (RMT), that consists of a chaplain and a religious program specialist (RP). The RMT offers total privacy to those who ask for help.

"RPs help you connect with a chaplain when you need us," said Kibben. "Whatever they learn in the process of getting you in to see the chaplain is as confidential as what you tell the chaplain."

"I hear stories everyday about RPs helping Sailors, family members, and DON civilians connect with chaplains in times of crisis," added Master Chief Religious Program Specialist Eddie Walker III, the senior enlisted leader for the RP rate.

Confidentiality builds trust and makes it possible for RPs and chaplains to make a big difference in people's lives." -Master Chief Eddie Walker


Anytime a Sailor, Marine, or Coast Guardsmen needs support is the right time to contact a chaplain.

"If you're in crisis - looking for that safe space to go to where you can talk to somebody without any fear of it going viral, that's when and where it matters. Trust is what matters at such a time. What also matters is that we're not just going to give you resources and send you on your way."

"Called to serve" is the Navy Chaplain Corps motto. Chaplains deliver religious ministry where it matters, when it matters, with what matters. They deliver caring advice and support to individuals for their benefit whether they practice a religion or not.

"We're going to help you walk through the crisis, and if there are spiritual elements you've identified in what you're dealing with, we'll certainly help you with those too," added Kibben.

For more information about the Chaplain Corps visit their website, www.navy.mil/local/chaplaincorps/.

For a global listing of chaplains click here.