Transitions in the Military: New Assignments

NDU-JFSC-campus

In the Navy, as well as most military branches in the United States the officer community regardless of their specialty have branch, corps or specialty managers. These men and women work with the services and the individual officers to fill assignments. In the Navy these men and women are called “Detailers” and the process of assignments called detailing.

This afternoon I received a call from my detailer. I am coming up on my “projected Rotation Date” or PRD in October and have been negotiating for orders. The process was disrupted by some other changes in the system and I have been waiting a bit longer than normal to find out what I would be doing next.

In my last two assignments I had no choice. In 2006 the assignment that I thought I had was changed and in 2008 I was requested by name for an assignment at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth and in 2010, a year before I expected to rotate and less than a week after I had been selected for promotion to the rank of Commander I was informed that I would be assigned as the Command Chaplain at the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune North Carolina. I have now completed most of that tour and was awaiting word.

What I wanted to do was to teach and be the Chaplain at the Joint Forces Staff college in Norfolk. It has been an assignment that I have wanted for a number of years. It combines being an instructor in Ethics for students from the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and foreign officers attending the courses at the college, as well as having chapel responsibilities. However I was told a couple of months ago that the assignment was going to another chaplain. I was disappointed because it was a billet that I thought that I was uniquely qualified.

I had spent 17 1/2 years in the Army, been a company commander as well as battalion, group and brigade staff officer before becoming a chaplain. Additionally my military and civilian education which include the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and a Masters Degree in military history and some rather unusual assignments including a joint tour in Iraq as chaplain to American advisors in Al Anbar province as a member of the Iraq Assistance Group, made me, at least in my opinion an ideal choice.

However as of a couple of months ago the billet was already filled. Thus I had no idea what assignment that I would get and since there were very few assignments available in my detailing “window.”

I was expecting a call in the next week or so, but I did not expect the detailer to tell me that I would get the Joint Forces Staff College job. I am happy to get it. It will mean that I will return to the Norfolk area in the September-October time frame. The position will allow me to teach in a very interesting setting as well as pastor the chapel congregation.   It will also allow me to continue my academic education and writing. It will also allow me to be at home after a three year tour away from my wife Judy. For that I am most grateful.

Since it is a non-deploying billet it probably will not help my chances too much to make Captain in a view years, but that is not my goal. My goal is to be at the place where I can do the most good, take advantage of my skills and experience and which will challenge me to continue to grow as a human being, priest, chaplain and Naval officer.

It is good news and I am happy that the detailers and senior leadership honored my request for the assignment. The timing allows me to finish well where I currently serve and contribute the the continuing mission of healing the minds, bodies and spirits of Marines and Sailors, including those wounded, ill or injured in war at Camp LeJeune.

It is a good day.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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4 Comments

Filed under Military, US Navy

4 responses to “Transitions in the Military: New Assignments

  1. Louis

    Hi Steve. I have been on your email blog list for quite some time. I have not written previously because my Bitdefender blocks your comment page. No idea why. I finally went around the block anyway. In a nutshell, I enjoy your blog, which may not be an obvious conclusion since I am both an atheist and I abhor baseball. 🙂 However, I really enjoy your historical posts, comments about military life and your perspective as a very open-minded chaplain/ historian/ and service member.

    What finally prompted me to write was your post about your upcoming billet. It pleases me greatly that you will finally get the post you have been moving towards for some time. I agree that you are uniquely qualified and I am sure that the students you will encounter will benefit from your even-tempered wisdom and perspective as I have.

    I am hoping that your good fortune is an omen for my own upcoming assignment. . . we will see. Best of luck and congratulations!

  2. Arthur

    That’s great I’m happy for you.

  3. I’m glad to hear you’ll be posted near home. I know how much you’ve missed your wife and four-legged “kid”. 😉
    Oh, and Louis? The Padre knows baseball is far from #1 in my book, and he’s let me, in all my insanity, hang around for a while. So I’m sure he’ll welcome you, as do I!

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