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Focus on Service

Chief of Navy Chaplains, Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben

Chaplain Rear Adm. Margaret Grun Kibben is a Presbyterian minister currently serving as the 26th Chief of Chaplains of the United States Navy. Formerly the 18th Chaplain of the United States Marine Corps (CHMC) and the Deputy Chief of Chaplains of the United States Navy, Adm. Kibben was the first female to hold each office. She was sworn in as Chief of Navy Chaplains on August 1, 2014 as the first female to serve as such.

Do you have family in the military?
My husband is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel having served the Corps 26 years. My father is a retired lieutenant commander in the Navy. Having enlisted in World War II, he joined the reserves and was later commissioned an officer. I am the seventh naval officer in my family.

What inspired you to go into religious ministries within the military?
I decided in eighth grade that I wanted to be a minister. The summer after my junior year in high school, I had the chance to visit a boyfriend who had entered the Naval Academy. I realized while visiting him that I would really like to serve in the military. It didn't take long, maybe a day, for me to realize that I could do both if I pursued being a Navy chaplain.

What has kept you in the service of our nation for more than 25 years?
Each time I was asked how long I would stay in, I'd answer, "as long as the Navy likes me, and I like the Navy." I guess you could say we've liked each other for all these years. Seriously, I have not only loved this ministry but, I have always felt called to remain in this ministry. There has not been one tour that I have felt that God isn't using me in some way or another. There have been tours where that was clearer than others but overall, the opportunity to serve Sailors and Marines has been one of the greatest gifts God has provided me. I have never felt called to serve him anywhere else.

How has serving alongside Sailors and Marines affected you personally in life?
Aside from marrying one? I am rewarded daily by the enthusiasm, dedication and true commitment today's Sailors and Marines demonstrate in the face of extreme adversity and challenge. And I am a better person for it, as they "keep me honest" to remain on par with that same level of enthusiasm, dedication and commitment.

(From an interview with Marine Corps Magazine)