By Petty Officer 3rd Class MacAdam Kane Weissman
The Navy Chief of Chaplains visited the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), to meet chaplains and religious ministries personnel forward deployed in the 7th Fleet area of operations, Dec. 1.
Rear Adm. Margret G. Kibben, the first female two-star chaplain and first female Navy Chief of Chaplains, met with leadership from Reagan Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 to get a first-hand account of their religious ministries programs.
“My purpose here,” Kibben said, “is to have an opportunity to see the ship, command, and more specifically the religious-ministries team here. Also to get other chaplains in the area to see the great Ronald Reagan.”
Kibben and CSG 5 religious-ministries leadership discussed available resources and whether or not they are being used effectively for their Sailors.
“To be forward deployed, just by virtue of the title, is to say you’re already in a deployment status.” Kibben said. “You’re on the ready, ready to fight tonight and pull out at any moment. Our religious ministries team will need to be ready to support the crew at a moment’s notice.”
During Kibben’s visit, she toured the ship and interacted with the Ronald Reagan crew. She told them she is proud of everything they have accomplished and is excited for what they will accomplish next.
“We are always excited and eager to hear from our Chief of Chaplains,” said Cmdr. David S. Yang, Ronald Reagan’s head of religious ministries. “To have her onboard Ronald Reagan is a great thing for the waterfront religious-ministries teams and our Sailors.”
Ronald Reagan religious-ministries team provides support for multiple religions, including Christian services, Buddhist meditation, Jewish Shabbat, Islamic prayer and more. They perform specialty services such as Baptisms, full confidentiality counseling and coordinate community-relations projects where Sailors can stay connected with their faith. The availability of these services is important to many Sailors on board.
“I believe that as a Sailor who practices a faith tradition it’s important to have a strong ministry so that Sailors can keep up their practice in their faith,” said Seaman Candice Hunt, from Garner, Iowa. “Especially so far from home.”