A higher calling: MCLB Albany chaplain retires after two decades of service
By Nathan L. Hanks Jr.
| Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | March 28, 2013
March 28, 2013 --
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany said farewell to its chaplain during a ceremony held at the Town and Country Ballroom, March 8.
Navy Lt. Kenneth L. Miller, chaplain, MCLB Albany, retired after 20 years of combined service. Lt. Col. Daniel Bates, executive officer, MCLB Albany, presided over the ceremony, which was attended by members of the command and Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Special guests included his wife, Dorothy, and daughters, Shaquita and Tiffany.
“Lieutenant Miller has been an integral part of this command and the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany family for the past four years,” Bates said. “He is a dedicated professional, a patriot and a friend who we will miss dearly. I would like to thank him for his service and say farewell as he begins this new chapter in his life - fair winds and following seas.”
Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, spoke how Miller helped him and the command
“Ken has done a great job in helping me with the spiritual aspect of the command,” he said. “There were many times he came into my office and we would close the door and talk about the challenges ahead, members of the command and pray together. It has been my pleasure and honor to have this man as part of my command.”
Miller, born June 30, 1963, is a native of Natchez, Miss. His military service began in the Air Force where he served as a personnel specialist from 1983 - 1990.
After serving seven years, Miller decided to leave the Air Force to pursue a different career. However, it was a decision he made in 1985 that would redirect his spiritual path.
“When I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, in 1985, I gave my life to Christ,” he said. “Ministry was not a concept in my life back then, but when I accepted Christ in that chapel, I said ‘wow, if I ever have an opportunity to do something like this I would do it,’ not fully aware of where the thought originated nor such a desire as well.
“Who would have known that years later I would be a chaplain, working in a chapel similar to the place where I first received Christ,” Miller added.
It was because of that experience, chaplains have always held a special place in his heart, he said.
In 1993, Miller was called to the ministry and attended Beulah Heights University in Atlanta where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in biblical education in May 1997.
He continued his academic pursuits by receiving a Master of Divinity in church administration and leadership from Morehouse School of Religion, Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta in July 2000.
In October 2000, Miller was commissioned as an Air Force reserve chaplain, but the following year would transfer to the Navy Chaplain Corps in order to serve in an active-duty capacity.
“The chapel is where the transformation began for me,” Miller said. “As I began to develop in ministry and go through school, it was a natural process for me to go to the place where I was transformed by the message of faith. The positive experiences I had in the Air Force with chaplains are what motivated me to go in that direction.”
In June 2001, Miller attended Naval Chaplain School, Newport, R.I.
His first assignment as chaplain was with Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. He checked into the command on Sept. 4, 2001 and thought it would be a standard assignment. However, the terrorist attacks on 9/11 drastically changed his opinion.
Miller deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002 to Bahrain and Masirah, an Island off the coast of Oman in the Persian Gulf Region, and to Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean, in 2003.
He then transferred to Mobile, Ala., in September 2004, where he served as the sector chaplain for Coast Guard Sector Mobile. Miller said he had hoped to get some relief from the fast paced life of deployment; he did until the middle of the 2005 hurricane season.
Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southern Plaquemines Parish, La., as a Category 3 hurricane, according to http://www.katrina.noaa.gov.
“I took part in Hurricane Katrina Relief Operation and my responsibility was to find shelter and food for the displaced people,” he said. “This was my most challenging assignment in the military.”
In 2005, Miller transferred to Naval Air Station Atlanta where he served four years. While there, Miller received a Doctor of Philosophy in management of non-profit agencies from Capella University in April 2008.
He then was assigned to MCLB Albany in 2009 where he has served as a chaplain at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd for nearly four years.
“My real job is to facilitate spiritual encounters for people,” he said. “The military is a unique place. You have a plethora of people from different ethnic backgrounds and it was a place where I thought I could have an impact.”
Miller said the military exposed him to people from all walks of life and certainly broadened him as both a person and ministry leader.
“It became important to me to do ministry in a diverse setting to learn and experience that at the core, people are the same and our spiritual and emotional needs are equally the same,” he said. “I don’t consider myself as a black minister providing for those unique to my ethnicity, I just happened to be a minister who is black striving to facilitate for all.”
Miller will continue to preach at the chapel even though he is on terminal leave.
His retirement date is effective July 1, just after his 50th birthday, June 30.
In retirement, Miller will continue to teach Bible courses and work on two books he is writing. The books are entitled “Extraordinary Living” and “Fixing the Floor.”
Petty Officer Second Class Peter A. Green, chaplain assistant, MCLB Albany, said Miller has taught him much about what it takes to be a successful religious ministry team.
“Without his leadership and guidance, things would not have run as smoothly at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd,” he said. “I am proud to know him as a pastor, a mentor and friend.
“I wish him the best in everything he tries to accomplish and look forward to the new endeavors he, his family and his congregation will explore in the coming years,” he said.