Tag Archives: Navy

Group Tries to Stoke Controversy over Atheist Chaplain

Update: Jason Torpy revived the issue enough to generate a Navy Times article, though it contained no new information.  In fact, a Navy official reiterated a point made below — even humanists can’t really put bounds on a definition of “humanism:”

“Humanism’s not a defined term across the country,” the official said. “There’s a group of Jewish Humanists. The Humanist Society was once the Humanist Society of Friends, a Quaker organization.”

The official, referring to Heap, continued: “I don’t know that he represents a religious organization by any accepted definition.”


Tom Carpenter, a former Marine pilot and one of the founders of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy — the homosexual advocacy group that lobbied for the repeal of DADT — has attacked the Navy chaplaincy for not approving the chaplaincy application of Jason Heap, a self-described non-theistic humanist. Tragically, if not predictably, Carpenter seems to base his attack on “evidence” that does not exist [emphasis added]:

…The Navy Chief of Chaplains rejected the application of Jason Heap, a highly qualified chaplain candidate who would have been the first Humanist military chaplain. All the evidence leads invariably to the conclusion this decision was based upon a Constitutionally prohibited “religious test.”

What public evidence is there the Navy rejected the application based on a “religious test?” None whatsoever.

Carpenter implies — repeatedly — the Navy Continue reading

Baptists Focus on Military Chaplaincy

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Spring 2014 “Southwestern News” contained a few fascinating articles on the military chaplaincy. The cover, almost ironically, is a uniformed Navy officer holding a cross-emblazoned Bible with the graphic “in Jesus’ Name” in the center.

The subject of the cover is Commander Carey Cash who, as a Navy Lieutenant, wrote A Table in the Presence and would later serve as the chaplain for the Presidential retreat at Camp David. (His service at Camp David was criticized by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s group that attacks members of the Christian faith in the military, with Weinstein saying the President should “publicly punish” Chaplain Cash.)

Noting his service in Kuwait just prior to the Iraq war, Cash was able to capitalize on the “ministry of presence” unique to the military chaplaincy:

During those 40 days and nights, Cash conducted classes and counseled
daily with Marines as they wrestled with the claims of Christ on their lives. Just before crossing into combat, they baptized Continue reading

US Navy Conducts Blessing of the Fleet

The US Navy conducted its annual “Blessing of the Fleet” last month, hosted by the US Navy Memorial.

The blessing of the fleet is a ceremony created centuries ago in Europe and is a common practice by Sailors and navies around the world intended to guard ships and crews from the hazards of the sea.

Sailors from the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard and Coast Guard Honor Guard poured water from the Seven Seas and the Great Lakes into the surrounding fountains, “charging” them to life and ushering in the spring season.

Ironically, while the US Navy has participated for the past 23 years, at least, an elementary school mock up of the same thing was canceled last year over the “separation of church and state” last year.

Mustache March: Tradition, Camaraderie, and IG Complaints

Update: General Welsh announced the Mustache March winners.  Retired Naval officer Sara Zak published her own commentary in the Air Force Times, calling it all a “setback for AF’s strong women.”  US Air Force Major Deirdre Gurry begged to differ in her Air Force Times column, saying she’s “proud to say that since World War II women have been invited to join” the military “boys’ club.”


Besides the Air Force Times letter written by the disgruntled female officer, it seems the attempt at a little fun by Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh generated some grief as well — including a concerted effort to get him fired:

Retired Navy Commander Sara Zak [sent] a complaint to the Air Force inspector general’s office, she asked that Welsh step down and rescind the challenge, saying the activity was “contrary to his Chief of Staff of the Air Force message to airmen he issued in January, [that] it perpetuated an environment conducive to sexual harassment, and that the Air Force should acknowledge [that] traditions that denigrate or fail to show proper respect to all airmen will not be accepted as part of the Air Force culture.”

Zak — whose retired Navy status makes her interest unclear — was pretty much told to pound sand, so she tried every other avenue she could think of:  Continue reading

DoD Identifies Marine Killed in F/A-18 Crash

The US Marine Corps has identified the pilot who was killed in the crash of his F/A-18C Hornet March 1st:

Captain Reid B. Nannen, 32, of Hopedale, Ill…died March 1 from injuries resulting from an F/A-18C Hornet crash on the Fallon Range Training Complex, approximately 70 miles east of Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev.

The reports also indicate Capt Nannen — “Eeyore” — was a TopGun student at Fallon; he was assigned to Iwakuni, Japan.

Captain Nannen was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on May 25, 2004…

Nannen is survived by his wife, Sarah Nannen, and their four children, as well as his parents, Dale and Mary Nannen.

You can contribute to a fund for Capt Nannen’s children here.

Capt Nannen’s youngest child had just been born a few weeks earlier.  He never had the chance to hold her.

Also at the Marine Corps Times.

In First, Navy to Deploy Secular Chaplains

The US Navy will soon be deploying 21 “Deployed Resiliency Counselors” (DRCs):

The counseling and support services provided by the DRC are preventative in nature, aimed at addressing life challenges such as adjustment to deployments, separation from friends and family, relationship and family issues, and other challenges to military life. The DRCs are also fully trained to provide an extra layer of support to any victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, assuring that there are no gaps in support services.

In addition, the DRC will provide psycho-educational training on a variety of topics as suicide prevention, stress reduction and substance abuse prevention.

That is, of course, essentially the role of military chaplains — without the provider having an officially religious background. The press release notes Continue reading

Cross-Dressing Airmen Party at Kadena (Video)

The Stars and Stripes covered a ‘drag fundraiser’ held at Kadena Air Base, Japan:

Servicemembers here may have been the first to take to the stage and perform as drag queens on a military installation in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops…

Six servicemembers — gay, lesbian and straight — donned heavy makeup to dance and lip sync songs…

(The previous drag show on a military base apparently did not include military members.)  Navy Lt. Marissa Greene, who helps lead the local chapter of the homosexual advocacy OutServe-SLDN at Kadena, reported she’d hoped to sell 75 tickets — and ended up selling 400.

It is a leap to assume that all 400 people were Continue reading

F/A-18C Crashes Supporting Top Gun

Update: The Navy announced the pilot died in the crash.  The name of the pilot has been withheld until 24 hours after notification of next-of-kin.


A US Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet crashed on Saturday while supporting the Naval Strike and Warfare Center “Top Gun” course.

The Navy has issued several releases since then on the follow-up:

Initial reports from the scene indicate the aircraft is a total loss. It took Navy personnel several hours to reach the crash site as it was located in remote, rugged, mountainous terrain…

The reports say they are “continuing to search” for the pilot. Having located the aircraft, that is not a good omen.

Also at the Marine Corps Times, CNN, Christian Science Monitor, and the Stars and Stripes.

Navy Chaplains Quietly Fix Uniform Rules

The US Navy recently revamped its uniform program — again — in a move that was largely unnoticed but by those who have been critiquing the US military’s hunt for a long-term uniform over the past few years. As the issue was largely ignored, missed also was the substantial impact to US Navy chaplains.

It seems the Navy’s current versions of camouflage uniforms didn’t authorize a Chaplain’s insignia — meaning it was impossible for average Sailors to easily identify their chaplains:

“The fact you couldn’t identify a chaplain by his or her religion immediately on site [sic] was something the Navy Chaplain Corps requested to fix…Allowing sailors to identify their chaplains and Continue reading

Helicopter Crash Survivor on Faith, Family, God (Video)

What do you live for?  What does your life show the world that you live for?

Helicopter gunner Dylan Boone was one of two survivors of a 5-man crew of an MH-53E Sea Dragon that crashed off the coast of Virginia in January. As reported in the local press, Boone recently spoke to his Upward Church, detailing the ordeal in a 37-minute conversation that touched on a few major life realities, including his realization that he wasn’t living the life he should:

Boone said that more wrenching than his physical injuries was the recognition that he was spiritually wounded.

“I didn’t know if I was going to heaven or hell,” he Continue reading

Bill Nye, Ken Ham Debate Meets Military Cheating Scandals

There’s a fascinating philosophical connection between the debate of Bill Nye and Ken Ham over creationism on the one hand, and reports the US Department of Defense is becoming increasingly “troubled” over troops’ ethical problems on the other.

First, Dr. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, attended the Nye/Ham debate (viewable on YouTube) and made an interesting assessment. The debate wasn’t, in the end, over facts. It was over worldview — and Bill Nye’s faith that “human reason” was an ultimate solution [emphasis added]:

Bill Nye repeatedly cited the reasonable man in making his arguments. He is a firm believer in autonomous human reason and the ability of the human intellect to solve the great problems of existence without any need of divine revelation…He sees himself as the quintessential “reasonable man,” and he repeatedly dismissed Christian Continue reading

Klingenschmitt: Chaplain’s Statement Proves Need for Protections

Former US Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt recently responded to testimony by the Rev James Magness, the Episcopal Church’s Armed Forces Bishop, given at the House Armed Services Committee (previously discussed here):

Klingenschmitt calls it arrogant for James Magness, the Washington National Cathedral’s bishop for the armed forces, to say that chaplains who pray in Jesus’ name risk offending non-Christian troops and harming unit cohesion.

“This quote by him demonstrates exactly the reason Continue reading

Update: Responses to DoD Changes on Religion Rules

Update: J.B. Wells wonders aloud if the DoD intentionally produced the policy to change the religious freedom focus to turbans and beards while keeping “liberal constituencies” like Michael Weinstein “at bay.”


There have been a wide variety of responses to the US military’s update to DODI 1300.17 (accommodating religious freedom), with language that seems to imply a more open attitude toward outward display and expression of religious belief.

The Christian Post, like many sites, focused on the apparent ability to wear religious accoutrements:

The Pentagon reportedly decided to change its policy on religious wear after Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a Sikh, spoke at a Congressional briefing about the challenges American Sikhs face in the military earlier in January. Kalsi told members of Congress that he believes he can effectively serve his country while still maintaining his religious appearance, including an uncut beard and a turban.

While that may or may not have been a factor, the DoDI clearly includes language from both the 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts — that is, requirements levied by Congress, not just reconsideration based on serving Soldiers.

The US Navy appeared to try to quell Continue reading