Honoring the 240Th Anniversary of the Navy Chaplain Corpsby Representative J. Randy Forbes
Posted on 2015-12-15
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Mr. FORBES. Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize the 240th
anniversary of the Navy Chaplain Corps. For 240 years, Navy chaplains
have served with honor, courage, and selflessness, ensuring that our
Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are able to practice and grow in
their faith, regardless of where they serve.
Our Navy chaplains are an invaluable pillar of their military communities. The role of a chaplain is inherently religious. As the makeup of our service members has expanded, the chaplaincy has expanded with it to include representatives reflecting the many faith traditions of our troops, including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist. When religious leaders become military chaplains, they pledge to equally serve all members of the armed forces, regardless of religious belief. Chaplains faithfully carry out this sacred duty each and every day.
While military chaplains are noncombatants and do not carry weapons, they still serve in harm's way. Sixteen Navy chaplains have given their lives providing religious and spiritual support for our men and women at war. Two Navy chaplains were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their sacrificial ministry to their Sailors and Marines. Lieutenant Commander Joseph T. O'Callahan braved a fiery inferno to administer last rites and direct damage control operations aboard the stricken USS Franklin in 1945. Lieutenant Vincent R. Capodanno repeatedly exposed himself to intense enemy fire in Vietnam while administering last rites to dead and dying Marines, refusing treatment of his own wounds and directing corpsmen to his wounded comrades, before being killed while coming to the aide of another. Six naval ships have been named after chaplains with one, the destroyer USS Laboon, still in service.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join with me today in recognizing the brave and honorable service of Navy chaplains over the last 240 years.