Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chief of Chaplains visits Camp Ramadi

Story by Cpl. Stephen McGinnis


CAMP RAMADI, Iraq – U.S. Navy Chief of Chaplains Rear Adm. Robert Burt visited Camp Ramadi, Iraq, Dec. 5, to attend a special prayer breakfast and address service members with words of encouragement.

About 30 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors attended the breakfast, several of whom were chaplains and religious program specialists from units serving throughout al Anbar Province.

“Anytime I can come and speak to a group like this is great,” said Burt, who traveled from the U.S. to attend the event. “It doesn’t matter if it’s early in the morning or late at night, I love it.”

Burt opened his speech by telling the group a story about his favorite scripture passage, “In God, all things are possible.” Through the remainder of his speech, he related the passage to challenges service members here face.

He told the group about visiting a Marine who was wounded in Iraq and lost both hands in an explosion. Burt said he was surprised to find the Marine in good spirits, and was encouraged by his desire to not only stay in the Marine Corps but to also break the physical fitness test’s pull-up record.
“Talk about overcoming an impossible situation; this guy understood that with God all things are possible,” Burt said.
Burt’s favorite passage may be very short and simple, but to those serving their country in Iraq, the passage is one that many hold very dear.

“Burt’s speech really inspired me to never give up,” said Staff Sgt. Jermaine J. Otey, a 31-year-old supply chief from Nashville, Tenn. with Regimental Combat Team. “It was really special that the admiral came to see us. I think he really cares about the Marines and Sailors that are serving in Iraq.”

Burt, a native of Springfield, Ore., enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1970 and served six years in the communications field.

After his honorable discharge, he completed his Bachelor of Science in Biblical Sudies at Eugene Bible College in Eugene, Ore., and his Master of Divinity degree at Western Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Ore.

As a chaplain, Burt has served aboard the USS Arkansas, the USS Kansas City, the USS Nimitz and with 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton Calif.
Burt served as the deputy chief of Navy chaplains, chaplain of the Marine Corps from 2003 until 2006.

As the chief of chaplains, Burt serves as the director of religious ministries to administer and manage the Navy Chaplain Corps and implement religious ministries to meet the needs of personnel in the service and their dependents in their pursuit of the free exercise of religion.

“It important for men like Burt to come out and spend time with Marines and Sailors because there is a natural and a spiritual side to a man. It is good for someone to speak to the spiritual side,” said Otey.

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