ARABIAN GULF (NNS) -- U.S. 5th Fleet Chaplain, Capt. Thomas Walcott, visited the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill, Dec. 12 to meet with lay leaders and the command religious ministries department (CRMD).
"I want all of you to understand how important you are to the religious ministries team," said Walcott. "It's through your efforts that the Sailors aboard Bunker Hill are able to worship in accordance with their faith."
While Walcott met with the Bunker Hill's CRMD, led by the ship's chaplain, Lt. Kristian Carlson and Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Jason Hunt, Carlson asked them to describe some of the programs they provided the crew during deployment. Gas Turbine Systems Mechanic 2nd Class Thomas Marvelle described the plan he put together to hold a retreat on the ship with Catholic and Protestant congregations.
"In high school, we had an annual retreat for the incoming freshmen," said Marvelle. "The idea was that we would discuss some of the challenges they would likely face, and to tell them they could come to us for help and guidance."
Marvelle explained that he thought Sailors on their first deployment could use something similar, so he worked with the chaplain and organized the program, which includes time for reflection, testimony, and music.
CRMD fills a vital role aboard Navy ships, aiding with Sailor resiliency during long stretches under arduous conditions. Embarked chaplains and the command religious ministries team help keep the command informed of their Sailors' well-being, and ultimately help ensure a well-rested and focused warfighting crew.
Following the meeting with the lay leaders, Walcott spoke with the commanding and executive officers, and met some members of the crew before his departure.
"The things you're doing aboard Bunker Hill are great," said Walcott. "Please keep moving forward on ways to help your shipmates get in touch with their spirituality. We are all familiar with the challenges of deployment, and I can tell you that the work you and the chaplain are doing here help make that time go by a little easier."
Bunker Hill is on a regularly scheduled deployment with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group. TRCSG is comprised of Carrier Strike Group 9 staff, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 staff, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, and the DESRON 23 ships: the guided-missile destroyers USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Higgins (DDG 76), USS Preble (DDG 88) and USS Sampson (DDG 102), as well as Bunker Hill.
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