Chaplain of the Coast Guard Conducts Change of Watch Ceremony

Story Number: NNS180419-02Release Date: 4/19/2018 10:25:00 AM
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By Gloria Colon-Buzatu, Navy Chaplain Corps Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy Chaplain Capt. Thomas Walcott, relieved Capt. Gregory Todd as the Chaplain of the Coast Guard during a change-of-watch ceremony at the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., April 12.

In his remarks, Todd addressed the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Paul Zukunft.

"Thank you for the opportunity to be the Chaplain of the Coast Guard," said Todd. "It would be difficult to find another military service chief more supportive ... to the mission of chaplains and the value religion is to the resiliency of the force."

In its missions across the country and around the world, the U.S. Coast Guard is augmented by a robust auxiliary; however, before Todd's tenure, chaplaincy was not included in the Coast Guard Auxiliary in a systematic way. Todd organized and established procedures for a comprehensive volunteer clergy program to enhance religious ministry across the Coast Guard.

"Chaplain Todd leaves a legacy for the formation and growth of auxiliary clergy support," said Rear Adm. Brent Scott, deputy chief of chaplains of the Navy and chaplain of the Marine Corps. "There are nine auxiliary clergy members working alongside our Navy chaplains to positively impact the lives of Coast Guardsmen and their families."

Zukunft highlighted Todd's exceptional contributions to the Coast Guard, both as chaplain of the Coast Guard and when he served earlier at a most consequential time.

On 9/11, Todd was assigned to Coast Guard Activities New York. While in an auxiliary aircraft, he saw the Twin Towers burning from the air. When the plane landed, Todd was the first Coast Guard chaplain on the scene.

"Chaplain Todd ran to the site of chaos and mayhem to minister to the victims and first responders," said Zukunft.

During the historic hurricane season of 2017, Todd, in his role as chaplain of the Coast Guard, cared for service members who suffered major losses.

"Over 700 families ... had no home ... and there was Chaplain Todd leading from the front, ministering to our people, reaching out to our network of chaplains, to include auxiliary chaplains," added Zukunft.

In addition to his service to Coast Guard and Navy commands, Todd served the Marine Corps in various assignments during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, to include forward deployments in support of combat operations.

Capt. Thomas Walcott read his orders detaching him from U.S. Navy Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, Bahrain and assumed the watch as the 11th chaplain of the Coast Guard.

Todd received his second Legion of Merit and will report to the staff of the chief of naval operations, where he is nominated to relieve Scott.

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