ARLINGTON, Va. --
Marines and sailors gathered at the Memorial Chapel aboard Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall to witness the first female chaplain of the Marine Corps assume her post July 9.
Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben took the oath of office from Gen. James Amos, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, and assumed the duties as the senior Navy chaplain serving with Marines.
Amos, who previously served as a naval aviator, told Kibben to enjoy the opportunity to work with Marines.
“You get the best of both worlds,” he said. “You get to be a part of each service’s proud history, and you have a legion of friends who wear each uniform.”
Kibben, who has more than 24 years of service behind her, was also promoted to rear admiral lower half during the ceremony.
“Admiral, wow,” she said. “I don’t think I will ever get used to it, but I hope I can grow into it.”
While Kibben struggled to grasp the reality of her accomplishment, some of her colleagues couldn’t think of anyone better to hold the rank and title.
“This shouldn’t be about the board picking a woman as chaplain of the Marine Corps,” said Cmdr. Michael Gore, the deputy director of Operations, Plans and Policy for the chief of Navy chaplains. “She was chosen because she was the best candidate, and just so happens to be a woman.”
While some sailors have to adjust to working with Marines, Navy Capt. Greg Caiazzo, a fellow chaplain serving as the public affairs officer for the chief of Navy chaplains, said he knows Kibben will be able to handle the job.
“She understands the ethos (of the Marine Corps),” he said. “She is going to be out there with the Marines, she wants to be out there with the Marines, and she is concerned (about) Marines.”
Gore, who spoke during the ceremony, explained how even at a young age, Kibben knew she was going to serve both God and country, and that she shouldn’t forget that part of her life.
“God has provided everything for me,” Kibben said. “It is up to me to respond.”
Amos also reminded Kibben of the role she would play in the two-front war America’s Marines and sailors are currently fighting.
“There are a lot of Marines and sailors who answered their nation’s call to fight,” he said. “Those young Marines and (sailors) are the ones you’ve been chosen to (serve).”