MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Navy Chaplains have been a part of Marine Corps heritage since the early years, and modern days are no different.
The Combat Center’s Religious Ministries Directorate, housed at Building 1551, is the hub for most unit chaplains aboard the base and offers a wide variety of services.
“We want to be there for the Marines, Sailors and their families,” said Navy Lt. Catherine V. Pace of RMD. “Most importantly, our services are completely confidential.”
Although RMD’s sign lists regular workings hours, Pace said she and her 18 fellow chaplains aboard the Combat Center are willing to listen and work after hours for anyone.
“We’re here for them no matter what,” said Pace. “People sometimes need services beyond what we offer, but we have a lot of recourses and can point them in the right direction. The best way to find out about us is to just call.”
Marines, Sailors and their families can call on a chaplain at any time, said Navy Cmdr. Thomas E. Betts, deputy base chaplain.
“Some people still think you need a chit to see the chaplain,” he said.
Not only does RMD supply information at pre-deployment briefings and manage worship services at base chapels, it also has children’s religious education programs, Bible studies, youth programs, choir and marriage and premarital enrichment classes.
“Our CREDO [Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation] program for spouses could easily be hundreds of dollars in the civilian world,” said Pace.
CREDO is a monthly off-base retreat designed for spouses to get away from it all and improve their communication and relationship. Spots for CREDO often fill soon after it is announced, said Pace.
Chaplains are also available to perform weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but requests should first go through unit chaplains with as much advanced warning as possible.
“A lot of chaplains here are from different faith backgrounds, so if one isn’t able to perform a certain ceremony, we’ll find someone who can,” said Betts.