Chaplains at Sea
Providing for the spiritual needs of the crew
Flames flicker on clean white candles, Sailors shuffle through rows of pews to get a seat, and F/A-18 Super Hornets slam down on the flight deck ten feet above.
Navy chaplains have a specific faith group they follow and represent. Their faith group is identified on their uniforms with a cross, crescent, Star of David on two tablets or other religious symbol. Chaplains provide services for their specific faith group and hold services for Sailors of that group.
The chaplains also facilitate religious support for Sailors of all faiths-whether the Sailor is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist or any other faith.
"We provide for our own, which means since I'm a Christian chaplain, I provide a Christian service, but we also facilitate and ensure all Sailors have an opportunity to practice their own faith," said Lieutenant Cole Yoos, chaplain aboard Ronald Reagan.
As a Protestant-endorsed chaplain, he leads the Protestant services on board. Ronald Reagan also has a Roman Catholic and a Seventh-day Adventist chaplain, and embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, has a Protestant chaplain. These chaplains lead the services of their respective faith groups.
Chaplains support the needs of any faith group, no matter how common or uncommon, as long as there are interested Sailors. If the faith group doesn't have a chaplain present, a Sailor of that faith can volunteer to become a certified lay leader.
According to Yoos, a Sailor interested in becoming a lay leader needs the following:
* Faith group endorsement
* Command chaplain interview
* Lay leader training
* Commanding officer's letter of appointment.
He recommends interested Sailors work with their chaplain.