Light of faith leads the way

1 Dec 2000 | Cpl. Valerie A. Martinez

Marines and Sailors from Camp Lejeune gathered at the Royal Pavilion Hotel here Nov. 30 in honor of the 225th anniversary of the Chaplain Corps.

"We are here to celebrate a community that serves as a lighthouse," said Navy Capt. Ollis J. Mozon, chaplain, Marine Corps Base. "We have guided Marines, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and Merchant Marines for over 225 years."

November 28, 1775, the Continental Congress established the Chaplain Corps under
Article Two of Navy Regulations. The article reads, "The Commanders of the ships of the 13 United States Colonies, are to take care that divine service be performed twice a day on board, and sermon preached on Sundays, unless bad weather or other extraordinary accidents prevent."

"I think it's interesting that we share the same anniversary as the Marine Corps," said Navy Capt. John L. Kaul of Wyandotte, Mich., and chaplain with Headquarters Battalion, 2d Marine Division. "The Marines saw a need for chaplains early on, and we've been at it ever since."

Today, 900 Navy chaplains of various denominations spread their word of faith. Of that number, 270 spend their time working with Marines.

There is approximately one chaplain to every 900 Marines on Camp Lejeune, according to Kaul.

"The chaplains that are assigned with the 2d Marine Division are key to the success of the Marines and Sailors," said Col. Kevin A. Conry of Norwalk, Ohio, chief of staff, Headquarters Battalion, 2d Marine Division. "We would be less capable without them."

Honored guests included Maj. Gen. Martin R. Berndt, commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force and guest speaker retired Navy Capt. Stan Beach, former MCB chaplain, and Legion of Merit and Purple Heart Medal recipient.

"I have a calling in the church and this is where I live it out," said Kaul. "Being part of an organization that tries to keep peace in the world means a lot to me. These people who are dedicated to that is what I am all about."