Reed Welcomes Naval Chaplains School Back Home to Newport

Move means 21 religious support personnel jobs will be coming to Naval Station Newport along with hundreds of students annually

NEWPORT, RI – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, today welcomed the news that the U.S. Navy plans to relocate the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center (NCSC) and nearly two dozen jobs from Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina to Naval Station (NAVSTA) Newport, Rhode Island effective March 1, 2019.

NCSC, the only command in the Navy Chaplain Corps, is responsible for the education and professional development of chaplains.  Navy chaplains help serve the spiritual and emotional needs of the men and women of the U.S. Navy, including the Marines Corps and Coast Guard.  According to the U.S. Navy, the Navy Chaplain Corps is made up of over 800 Navy chaplains who confirm more than 100 different faith groups are currently represented (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and many others).  Each chaplain is also a Navy Officer – meaning each holds an important leadership role.  Chaplains also work closely with religious program specialist (RPs), who are enlisted service members that provide force protection for the chaplain — who is unarmed — in combat situations.

“I am thrilled the Navy has agreed to return the Naval Chaplaincy School and Center back home to Rhode Island,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.  “The Chaplain Corps has a vital mission training chaplains to provide religious ministry, pastoral care, and support to our Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.  This move will bring jobs and longer waves of students to Newport, the Navy’s intellectual home, and will help NCSC effectively train and professionally develop chaplains who can minister and serve as an integrated part of the Navy team.”

As a result of the relocation to Newport, NCSC will move ten officers, four enlisted personnel, and seven civilians to Rhode Island, as well as the many students who annually attend NCSC training.  The ten officers are all U.S. Navy Chaplains including the Commanding Officer, Executive Officer, Logistics Officer, and seven military instructors.  The enlisted personnel include three Religious Program Specialists, two serving in the logistics department and one serving as Student Administration.  The fourth enlisted member is a USMC Gunnery Sergeant serving as the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor.  The civilian personnel include the Director of Training/Executive Director, Learning Standards Officer, Administration Officer, IT Support/Computer Assistant, Command Secretary, a Training Specialist and a Training Technician.  The civilian personnel currently serving in Fort Jackson will all be offered transfer of function to Newport, Rhode Island.

This will be a return to Rhode Island for the school, which has a rich history and was originally established in 1942 and first located at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia before being decommissioned in 1945.  The school was then re-established and moved to Newport in 1951 as part of Naval Schools Command.

In 2005, as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission process, the chaplain schools for the Air Force, Army, and Navy were all moved to Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina to what became known as the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Center.  However, the move did not prove effective and the Air Force Chaplain Corps College officially returned to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama last year.

The Navy’s decision to move the Chaplain School back to Newport was based largely on providing new accession chaplain students the formative opportunities of Naval culture and Sailorization while receiving their initial training.

Currently, newly commissioned chaplains begin their training with five weeks of Officer Development School at NAVSTA Newport and must then complete an additional seven weeks of training at the Naval Chaplain School in Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  This change means Navy chaplains will no longer have to fly down to the Army base in South Carolina to continue their training.

During the decades NCS was previously based in Newport, it trained more than 50,000 chaplains to serve the men and women of the sea services.

Newport is the U.S. Navy’s premier site for training officers, officer candidates, senior enlisted personnel and midshipman candidates, as well as testing and evaluating advanced undersea warfare and development systems.  NAVSTA Newport is home to the U.S. Naval War College; Officer Training Command Newport (OTCN); Surface Warfare Officers School; and many other commands and activities, including: the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center; the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies; Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 12 Detachment, Newport; Naval Academy Preparatory School; the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Norfolk — Newport Detachment; Navy Band Northeast; the Senior Enlisted Academy; the CNO Strategic Studies Group; Coastal Riverine Squadron 8; and more.