Tridents at Sea

By LCDR Val J. Jensen, Commander Submarine Group Ten Chaplain

tridentsRecently, I went to sea on one of the 10 Trident submarines,  the USS WYOMING, homeported at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia. This happened to be my 22nd ride on a nuclear submarine—I average approximately one ride a month.

To be able to carry out an effective ministry, it is important that I get to know the crew, but even more important is that the submariners get to know their chaplain. That way when the need arises, they know whom to go to for assistance.

What made this trip unique was the fact that I brought along two guests who are also in full time ministry. Captain C. C. Wiggins, Chaplain Corps, USN, is the Command Chaplain at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL; Colonel E. W. Robyn, USA, Retired, is the Field Staff Representative of Officer Christian Fellowship, Savannah, GA.

During our two day evolution, Captain Wiggins and Colonel Robyn toured the submarine, met with the crew, and had the opportunity to talk with Presidential Management Interns, who were also able to see what life was like on a submerged Ohio Class submarine. The Presidential Management Interns Program was established to attract outstanding individuals who have an interest in a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. After an outstanding dinner, Chaplain Wiggins delivered a service in the crew’s mess. Time sped by too rapidly and the next day the boat surfaced and was heading home.

We bid each other farewell and would be able to recall a once in a lifetime experience. That Sunday, Chaplain Wiggins gave another service, although this time it was delivered in the beautiful Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Chapel. Her text was Matthew 28:16-20. The scripture speaks of Jesus stating to his disciples: “. . . lo, I am with with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Soon after this article was written, Chaplain Jensen moved to Camp Pendelton Marine Base in California. From there, he has since deployed twice to Iraq with the Marines. Val and his wife, Kate, will leave their U.S. Navy Chaplaincy Family in 2009 to retire in the southeastern United States. Pray for the Lord to lead them into a new, vibrant ministry.


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