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  • 11
  • May
  • 2017
Chaplain of the Marine Corps leads annual chaplain training conference

By Lance Cpl. Tayler Schwamb, III Marine Expeditionary Force

OKINAWA, Japan -- Rear Adm. Brent W. Scott, chaplain of the Marine Corps, visited Okinawa for the annual Professional Development Training Workshop at Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, May 8-10, 2017.

The training is crucial to engaging fleet personnel, specifically chaplains and religious program specialists, and smoothing the communication between the commandant of the Marine Corps and a vital resource, the chaplains.

Each year, the chief of chaplains, along with subject matter experts, spend six months developing the training to its fullest potential. They begin to plan the topics for the training up to two years prior. After they open the lines for registry in October, the team of chaplains spend the following six months traveling to 12 sites, three being overseas.
Each year, approximately 1,000 chaplains and religious program specialists are trained through this training.

"This year the topic is ‘The Role of Chaplaincy in the Face of Violence,’" said Lt. Cmdr. Robert W. Peters, the professional development deputy director of the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center. "This year's training focuses on targeted violence, interpersonal violence, and the prevention of interpersonal violence."

The first day was centered on the concept of targeted violence, according to Peters. Targeted violence is defined as an intentional use of force to cause physical injury or death to a specifically identified population. Targeted violence is common in school shootings and murders.

The chaplains are instructed by subject matter experts in professional law enforcement. These experts give a glimpse of their world to the chaplains. The second day is about interpersonal violence. Targeted violence changes from being targeted on one person to being interpersonal, when the individuals know each other.

The final day is about a chaplain’s role in trying to prevent and mitigate the impacts of the interpersonal and targeted violence amongst our service members.

“Rear Adm. Brent W. Scott came out here to emphasize to the chaplains and the religious program specialists just how important their role is in caring for Marines and sailors and family members who have been affected by violence whether it is physical violence, sexual assault, or emotional violence,” said Navy Capt. William Kennedy, the deputy chaplain of the Marine Corps. “We were able to understand how to build resiliency of service members and their families, which is critical to the Marine Corps and the Navy. Chaplains are an indispensable asset to these types of instances.”

The chaplain of the Marine Corps came for two crucial reasons: to lead the personal development training workshop and to engage the fleet personnel so they can smooth the communication as much as possible, allowing all chaplains to engage in the highest level of communication for the Marine Corps.

“Rear Adm. Scott emphasized to the students the importance of Spiritual Fitness of Marines at this training,” said Peters. “The ability to adhere to beliefs, principles, and values needed to persevere and prevail is the meaning of spiritual fitness. This training is designed to develop chaplain and religious program specialist’s professional competencies in their response to violence, which includes strengthening Marines’ spiritual fitness and preventing interpersonal violence.”