Who knew I was back in school?
It all started about two weeks ago when I contacted my Detailer shortly after commissioning. I had some idea (grant you they were very basic ideas) about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do right out of the gate. I wanted Coast Guard straight off if it was offered because I had heard that you may only get one Coast Guard billet over a 20 year career and I didn’t want to pass it up. Angela and I also decide that it would be awesome to live overseas in – say – Japan. I was in essence creating in my own mind what the Navy refers to as a dream-sheet, a list, if you will, of your top desirables. To be sure I want to see it all and go where He leads but what order do I do it in. Decisions, decisions.
My Detailer brought me out of my dreams and down to earth. I needed to fulfill some basic requirements in my first 5-7years to make me more qualified to fill some of the billets of the higher officer ranks as I promote and grow with the Naval Chaplaincy Corp.
Generally speaking in your first 2-3 tours you need to:
- Serve a Blue Tour (serve with the navy)
- Serve a Green Tour (serve with the marines)
- Serve an operational Tour (means that you are deploy-able)
- Serve a Base Tour (mean that you are non-deploy-able, as a rule)
- Serve oversees (Either by being stationed overseas or deployed overseas)
Now these general requirements can be met together and ultimately can be completed in roughly 2 tours if everything lines up. e.g. A green operational tour – can meet 3 requirements (2,3, & 5). A Coastguard billet is more of an elective – a feather in your hat so to speak, that does help but generally it will be in addition to your core requirements.
These requirements are in place so that when you are promoted within that 5 to 7 year window to a Lieutenant Commander and start down the path towards what is referred to as a command chaplain you will understand the role and function of the unit you are attached to because you’ve been there. As an aside through every milestone in the application process and even during a conversation with my Detailer the topic of furthering education was brought up. The Navy wants you to want to go further with training, be it formal schooling or informal seminars etc. Do you have a passion to learn? If not – cultivate one.
So where am I headed? Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to serve with the Marines as the Chaplain for the 2nd Radio Battalion for the II MHG of the II MEF (pronounced 2 mef)
What does that mean? I have no clue. I’ve been able to piece together that it is an operational billet and I’ll be serving the men and woman, enlisted and officers that make up the one of the Intel units of the Headquarters group. – but what that precisely entails I’m at a lost. Chaplain Crouterfield’s words come to mind in times like these – so apart from everything else my ministry first and foremost will find itself a ministry of presence, not my presence, but rather the presence of my Lord.
So armed with the news of where we are head Angela has begun to prepare to move our household north, away from the heat of the Florida sun, but also away from family. The blessing is there too however. We will in a sense be swapping one family for another as Camp Lejeune is just 2 hours away from my family. With my Dad’s health in question – see previous post(s) – God could not have provided a greater blessing, where again none was asked, by placing my family as close as possible to my folks. So be it 2 years or 20 for the next few years my parents will have their grand kids just an afternoon drive away. So while this next adventure takes us away from family that will be sorely missed, it takes us into the arms of family that is currently sorely missed. So we endure and find joy, knowing that with each new assignment comes blessings, asked for or otherwise, from the far more capable hand of our God.
In Him we find far more then peace in the midst of uncertainty, in Him we find the strength, the joy and the excitement of where next He will lead.
In His Grips
- Chaplain Carson