WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Chaplains located within the National Capital Region gathered together aboard Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling's Officer's Club to celebrate the 237th anniversary of the Navy Chaplain Corps Nov. 14, focusing on spiritual fitness for the 21st century.
While Nov. 28 marks the official Chaplain Corps anniversary, numerous celebrations will be held globally throughout the month.
The Navy's color guard and drill teams were on hand to enhance the celebration and further a sense of esprit de corps, while Musician 1st Class Cory Parker of the Navy Band sang a stunning a cappella rendition of the national anthem.
Two videos were featured during dinner to highlight the heritage of the Navy Chaplain Corps, in addition to the heritage of the Washington Navy Yard and all installations supported by Naval District Washington, the command which hosted the event.
The evening's honorary guest speaker, Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, chief of naval personnel, emphasized the value of Navy chaplains as "an integral and important part of developing and sustaining our sailors by providing spiritual guidance, while also serving as trusted advisors to commanders, offering the sage counsel that is critical to understanding the needs of our people."
He added that chaplains are the "cornerstone and an integral part of achieving the Navy's national security strategy and 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, on the front line of ensuring the resiliency of the force."
He recognized the unique ability of chaplains to reach the individual Sailor, Marine, and Coast Guardsmen, in a way no one else can, to provide unique insight and counsel on morale and readiness issues to the commander.
"Chaplains are always part of my close team of advisors. I rely on them and the power of their counsel to provide that touchstone of awareness of the health of the force," he said.
Equally important is the chaplain's ability to do this without betraying the confidence and trust of the Sailors and Marines they serve.
Van Buskirk concluded his remarks by thanking the chaplains for what they "as caregivers to our force, giving them hope of better days ahead. For all that they do every day to make our navy stronger and mission ready."
Rear Adm. Mark Tidd, chief of chaplains; Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, deputy chief of chaplains; and Rear Adm. Gregory Horn, deputy chief of chaplains for Reserve Matters, were among the more than 80 chaplains and family members present.
The ceremonial cake-cutting followed the remarks, honoring the youngest and most senior chaplains present, Lt. Jonathan Craig and Lt. William Dorwart, respectively.
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