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120106-N-BL607-001 SASEBO, Japan (Jan. 6, 2011) - Capt. Dave Fluker, commanding officer of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) explains to Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd, chief of Navy chaplains, the capabilities of the flight deck during a tour aboard Essex.  Essex, is lead ship of the only forward-deployed amphibious ready group in the U.S. Navy. ( U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William T. Jenkins/released)
Chief of Navy’s Chaplain Corps Visits USS Essex
SASEBO, Japan – The Chief of Navy Chaplains, Rear Adm. Mark L. Tidd visited the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), Jan. 6. 

Tidd met with Essex’ Commanding Officer, Capt. David Fluker, and Essex’ Chaplain, Cmdr. James Johnson to discuss the Chaplain Corps’ role in helping Sailors and Marines live a healthy spiritual, physical, and mental life.

“These visits are crucial, as they deliver the ‘eyes on’ perspective necessary for the Chief of Chaplains to accurately advise the Secretary of the Navy on religious matters and other issues involving the spiritual, moral, and ethical well being of each Sailor, Marine and their families,” said Johnson. “Although Sasebo is a long way from Washington, D.C., a visit like this is a personal reminder that Essex is right in the middle of the discussion, and that each and every Sailor and Marine is critical to the safety and security of our country.”

Along the tour, Fluker and Johnson spoke about the role that Essex’ Chaplains play as counselors for crew members. The Chaplains aboard Essex advise and help Sailors and Marines with relationship issues, homesickness, suicide prevention and with any other concerns they might have.

“It is an honor and a privilege to host Rear Adm. Tidd today,” said Fluker. “I strongly believe that every Sailor and Marine aboard Essex, no matter their religious beliefs, can always benefit from the help or advice of a member of the Chaplain Corps. Rear Adm. Tidd’s visit is just one more way to show that from the newest Chaplain to the senior Chaplain in the Navy, every member of the Chaplain Corps is dedicated to the welfare of our Sailors and Marines.”

During the tour Rear Adm. Tidd was asked what he thought was the most important part of a Chaplain’s job was, “It’s all of the above, it’s the opportunity to serve our people in so many different ways, the opportunity to provide for our people’s religious needs as well as to help them discover ways to draw on the resources of their faith in order to be ready and resilient and be able to do anything that they are called on to do.”

Rear Adm. Tidd also visited Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo and several other ships on the waterfront during his visit to Sasebo.

Essex is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.

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