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Navy Captain Guy M. Lee, the command chaplain of I MEF, speaks to the audience at the 239th United States Navy Chaplain Corps Birthday Ball at the Pacific View Event Center aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., December 1, 2014. In attendance for the evening’s events were Lt. Gen. David Berger, Commanding General of I MEF, and the guest of honor was Rear Admiral Brent Scott, the 19th chaplain of the United States Marine Corps and the deputy chief of Navy chaplains.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Jenna Loofe

Chaplains celebrate 239th Anniversary of the Chaplain Corps

3 Dec 2014 | Lance Cpl. Jenna Loofe I Marine Expeditionary Force

Navy Captain Guy M. Lee, command chaplain of I Marine Expeditionary Force, hosted the 239th United States Navy Chaplain Corps Birthday Ball at the Pacific View Event Center aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Dec. 1, 2014. 

In attendance for the evening’s events were Lt. Gen. David Berger, Commanding General of I MEF, and the guest of honor was Rear Admiral Brent Scott, the 19th chaplain of the United States Marine Corps and the deputy chief of Navy chaplains.

The Navy Chaplain Corps began November 28, 1775, when the second article of Navy regulations was adopted. According to the second article, “The Commanders of the ships of the 13 United Colonies are to take care that divine services be performed twice a day on board and a sermon preached on Sundays, unless bad weather or other extraordinary accidents prevent.” 

The Chaplain Corps began veering away from the teaching function in October 1906 when the secretary of the Navy appointed a board of chaplains to establish new guidelines. The guidelines required all newly commissioned chaplains to graduate from college and seminary before receiving the endorsement of their denomination. The board also recommended there be a Chief of Chaplains and their recommendations gave birth to the Chaplain Corps as it’s known today.

“Navy chaplains support the religious freedom, the spiritual well-being, the strength and resilience of Marines and Sailors across the globe” said Scott. “Chaplains have been where it matters, when it matters and most importantly with what matters.”

The official welcome given before the anniversary dinner was presented by Berger. He thanked the Chaplains for their unwavering dedication to Marines, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and showed his appreciation for all they’ve done and will continue to do for all military members.

“I’m here this evening not just to wish you a happy birthday, but to let you all know that we are very grateful that God called all of you to serve alongside us,” said Berger.  “May God bless you on this anniversary and may God bless our Corps and our nation.”

Scott said Chaplains are here to bring depth to the lives of the Marines, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and to serve as leaders in worship, while keeping faith with them during their journeys in the military.

“I want to thank you for answering the call of courageous care,” said Scott.

“May we [keep contributing to] this great legacy of our Corps by continuing to reveal God’s presence where it matters, when it matters but most importantly with what matters because it really, really matters,” said Scott.

Chaplains are an essential part of keeping Marines, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen spiritually ready for the demands of combat.