Fort Jackson graduation a first for Navy chaplains
Senior Chief Religious Program Specialist Scott Quinn, left, unfurls the colors of the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center during the school's first graduation ceremony for new chaplains Friday.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- After 12 weeks of training, 28 Navy chaplains graduated from the first chaplain basic course at the new Naval Chaplaincy School and Center on Fort Jackson Friday.

"Today marks a very important milestone in the careers of this select group of clergy as they become our first chaplain graduates from this new location," said Navy Chaplain (Rear Adm.) Robert Burt, chief of Navy chaplains.

The Navy moved its chaplain school to Fort Jackson in August from Naval Station Newport, R.I. as mandated by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission of 2005.

The school conducted classes temporarily at the Naval Operation Support Center and is scheduled to move to its permanent location at the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center Nov. 30.

During the graduation ceremony, the Navy Chaplain Corps colors were unfurled, symbolizing the move to Fort Jackson.

"We are excited about being here," said Navy Chaplain (Capt.) Michael Langston, commanding officer of the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center. "We know that God is going to bless in immeasurable ways not only this community, but the men and women who will flow through this place, who receive the training, who receive the empowerment and the skill sets so that they can go in the fleet and serve our men and women and families in the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps and the United States Coast Guard."

Langston said that despite initial personnel shortages, the move to Fort Jackson was seamless.

"We're thankful for all of those who have supported us and continue to support us," he said. "The Fort Jackson community has rallied around us and welcomed us with open arms. And we are grateful for all that they have done and continue to do, for we are all on the same team."

The Navy Chaplaincy School and Center will also train religious program specialists, who previously were trained in Meridian, Miss.

Page last updated Thu November 12th, 2009 at 08:15