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NEWS | Dec. 16, 2021

CTF 71 Introduces First Chaplains Permanently Embarked Aboard U.S. Destroyers

By Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15

Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71/ Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 welcomes the first Chaplains to be permanently embarked aboard U.S. Navy destroyers, December 2021.

Between 2021 and 2023 CTF 71 will be assigned 8 chaplains, one for each destroyer in DESRON 15.

“Our new chaplains will be a force multiplier to the fleet as they will be able to provide care and help Sailors,” said Capt. Chase Sargeant, Commander, Task Force 71. “I look forward to working with DDG 51 Chaplains and the overall impact and support they will provide to our Sailors and their families.”

Currently, DESRON 15 has two chaplains to take care of the command and the eight forward-deployed destroyers. The Chaplain Corps has identified the need to have Chaplains assigned to destroyers to build resiliency in Sailors across the Fleet.

“Leaders have identified our Sailors as an asymmetrical advantage against our adversaries,” said Capt. Daniel Mode, U.S. 7th Fleet, Fleet Chaplain. “Keeping Sailors healthy and resilient is a critical leadership priority. Responding to a demand signal from Surface Leadership for more chaplains operating in the Fleet, the Chaplain Corps through the SURFPAC Chaplain developed strategies to increase budget and recruiting chaplains specifically billeted to DDGs. The proposal was unanimously approved at all leadership levels from the CNO on down.”

The Chaplain community aims to provide care to all Sailors. Care is one of the four core competencies from the Chaplain Doctrine that a Chaplain can provide to the command with the others being; provide, facilitate and advisement.

“We care for everybody,” said Lt.Timothy Delaughter, CTF 71 Chaplain. “A chaplain can provide confidentiality through conversations, counseling and support.”

Chaplains are frontline first responders who help build resiliency and readiness of Sailors across the deck plates.

“With a (Destroyer) having their own chaplain, they will be a part of the crew rather than being a ship rider,” said Lt. Cmdr. Lynn Christensen, CTF 71 Chaplain.

One of the essential elements of the U.S. 7th Fleet mission is to maintain resilient and ready Sailors 24/7 to face diversity meet any contingency. Chaplains help keep Sailors in the fight to complete the mission. Chaplains are able to provide care and time to all Sailors while providing support to the Triad. A chaplain aboard a ship can attend to the crew’s emotional and mental needs at all fronts with confidentiality and trust from the crew.

“The ministry of presence is essential to providing care to Sailors onboard,” said Christensen. “This will provide support to Sailors and the people they interact with on a day to day basis. Chaplains provide assurance to help support Sailors that they are not alone. We want to help people succeed in life,” said Christensen. “Chaplains provide the connection to religion and humanity to our Sailors that provides confidence to the warrior so they can carry on the U.S. Navy’s mission.”

DESRON 15 is the Navy's largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet's principal surface force.

U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest forward-deployed fleet in the world, and with the help of a network of alliances and partners from 35 other maritime-nations, the U.S. Navy has operated in the Indo-Pacific region for more than 70 years, providing credible, ready forces to help preserve peace and prevent conflict.