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Chaplain of Marine Corps encourages base community

By Marti Gatlin | | March 1, 2012

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Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, the 18th chaplain of the Marine Corps and deputy chief of Navy chaplains, visited Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Feb. 22, to encourage base community members to continue their important roles that impact the Marine Corps.

The chaplain of the Marine Corps has served in her current position for a year and a half. More than 100 Marines, sailors, civilian-Marines, retirees and families listened to remarks by Kibben during her half-day visit, which also included a tour of Maintenance Center Albany, now known as Production Plant, Albany, Ga., and a base tour.

Kibben listed a couple of reasons why MCLB Albany was high on her list to visit.

“One, it is often forgotten,” she said. “It is in the middle of nowhere, but it has such a vital role to play in the Marine Corps that it can’t be ignored.

“I have received a wonderful welcome,” Kibben added. “There’s never been a time I haven’t heard about the opportunities that Albany provides for its Marines, families and civilian-Marines. Everything you do here has such incredible impact from the minutest detail to the warfighter on the front lines. What you do truly matters.”

She applauded Marines for continuing to move forward with their mission instead of kicking back and relaxing when they arrive here.

“What you have built within this community is not only mission effective,” Kibben said. “It’s not only a fine tooled machine that gets machinery in and out, (but) the spectrum of equipment from small arms to large vehicles. The care you clearly show one another, from the civilians to the Marines and from the Marines to the civilians, you have built up an infrastructure that is enviable.”

The chaplain of the Marine Corps touched on various subjects such as sense of community; prevention of suicides, sexual assault and domestic violence during questions asked by Marines in the audience. She recommended that military retirees as a chapel community engage and adopt active-duty service Marines, sailors and their families here. Kibben also praised the base community for all its hard work.

“Thank you for making sure every part of what you do matters,” she said. “Thank you for being who you are - incredibly dedicated, devoted and faithful, not only to your Marine Corps, not only to your country but to yourselves. I really do commend you on the work load you are carrying and I do commend you on the times you take the time to reach out to one another, that you take the time to build this community.”

Navy Lt. Kenneth L. Miller, base chaplain, MCLB Albany, characterized Kibben’s visit as “a great honor. She was very impressed by what we are doing here on base. I think she really has a great handle on where we need to go as a Chaplain Corps and coming out here sort of confirms what she needs to do to help us do our jobs better.”

He noted he believed Kibben helped inspire people here to build on their community of faith.

“A lot of times people are sitting in the congregation as retirees and not knowing what value they bring to young Marines or young families,” Miller said. “(They) are sitting here with a wealth of knowledge and experience they could share very easily that would help mesh the community. That’s what we really want to hammer home is that we all are a part of this community and we want to mesh and meld together to make everybody better.”

Gunnery Sgt. Fredrick Sloan, who recently returned home after serving eight months as the branch staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, senior supply representative and sports outreach lead with Headquarters International Security Assistance Force, Traditional Communication Branch in Afghanistan, met Kibben after her remarks. “One of the programs I worked was religious outreach in Afghanistan and I got the opportunity to work with Lt. Cmdr. Abuhena Saifulislam, who is one of only either three or four Muslim chaplains, part of the Chaplain Corps,” Sloan, a member of Headquarters and Support Company, MCLB Albany, said. “I was just talking to her about my experience getting to work with him and the work we were doing in Afghanistan.”


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