NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- A combined ceremony for the establishment of the Naval Chaplains School and the graduation of Chaplain Basic Course was held April 12 at Naval Station Newport.
The establishment ceremony marks the transition of the Naval Chaplains School from a department within Officer Training Command, Newport to a shore activity under the auspices of Naval Education and Training Command, Naval Personnel Development Command, and the Center for Service Support.
The Naval Chaplains School was established in Newport in 1951, after the outbreak of Korean hostilities and the increased requirement for chaplains dictated the need once again for an indoctrination course for newly procured chaplains. The school will be relocating to Fort Jackson, S.C., in 2010.
“The establishment of the Naval Chaplains School Command is reflective of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard’s commitment to provide for the spiritual needs of its members,” said Naval Chaplains School’s Commanding Officer Capt. Tierian Cash.
He added that he has been pleased with the cooperation he has received from the Army and Air Force commandants and staff who are playing integral roles in the design of the new complex at Fort Jackson.
“You, the Sailors, Marines, and civilian staff have been unbelievable. Your commitment to our mission and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty has been an inspiration to me and the reason we are where we are today,” said Cash.
The rich history of the Chaplains Corps and the dynamics of the impending move were not lost on Rear Adm. Jacob Shuford, president of the Naval War College, as he addressed the audience.
“A walk around this school translates a direct message to the soul about the tasks that lay ahead. It conveys as well the notion that the spiritual element is the foundation of our strength as a naval service,” he said. “Your work, your service, your ministry— public and private— are daily evidence of the great truths of your creed and the great principles of your country.”
Shuford expressed his pride in those who were graduating, reminding them of their great responsibilities and that they will soon be at the forefront of some challenging times.
“You’ve got some big challenges before you,” he said. “Looking around me today at the living example and historical heritage of the Chaplains Corps, knowing who has been behind and beside you to get you here, and looking at you, I have absolute confidence we have chosen the best of you for that job and you will be up to the task.”
The Chaplain Corps was established on Nov. 28, 1775, at the same time the second Article of the Navy Regulations was adopted. In October 1906, the Chaplain Corps came into its own. A board of chaplains appointed by the Secretary of the Navy established guidelines that required all newly commissioned chaplains to be graduates of both college and seminary and should receive the endorsement of their denominations.
The office of the Chief of Chaplains was established in 1917 as a result of this board’s recommendations. Over 2,800 chaplains were called to active duty during World War II. The Navy currently has 856 active duty and 232 Reserve chaplains, 782 active duty and 202 Reserve religious program specialists who are serving in Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine units.
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