Story and photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marissa Beasley, FLEACT, Yokosuka, Public Affairs
Religious program specialists and chaplains celebrated the anniversary of their rating at the Chapel of Hope fellowship hall on board Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, 23 Jan. The celebration began with a brief historical speech about the rate given by religious program specialist seaman apprentice Melissa Young.
“In April of 1948 the Navy the established the personnelman rating. The job classification for this rating was chaplain’s assistant. From 1945 to 1979 the yeoman rating furnished personnel to aid and support Navy chaplains,” said Young. “The religious program specialist (RP) rating was officially established January 15, 1979. On 9 May 1979, the chief of naval operations approved the religious program specialist rating. The rating symbol consists of a compass, globe, and an anchor. The compass suggests the direction religion gives to life, the globe symbolizes the fact that religious ministries are available around the world, and the anchor symbolizes the support religious specialist provide naval personnel.”
Following the history of the religious specialist rating, Senior Chief Religious Program Specialist, Tshombe Harris expressed his sentiments regarding the importance of the religious program.
“Religious specialists have been an integral part of developing and delivering religious ministries across the services,” said Harris. “Being an RP means, to serve with pride and humility, it means to serve with faith and certainty. It means to see the problem and be the solution. It means to always exceed the expectations of those who need our leadership and care.”
To close the celebration every one assembled around a table to witness the cutting of a cake decorated with religious program specialist rating symbol.
“From Marine to Sailor everyone needs to be taken care of. Sailors can come to the chaplains office and have a stress free zone,” said Religious Program Specialist Chief Cecil Collins. “This is very important to me because it
represents the services we provide for the entire Navy,”