Chaplain of the Marine Corps pays respect to USS Arizona's fallen

Chaplain of the Marine Corps pays respect to USS Arizona's fallen

The USS Arizona Memorial sits atop the USS Arizona here Nov.25, which has rested at the bottom of the harbor since the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Members of the Chaplain Corps visited the memorial to pay tribute to the fallen victims. Photo by LCpl Erik Estrada.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR–HICKAM, Hawaii (Nov. 27, 2013) - Rear Adm Margaret Grun Kibben, 18th Chaplain of the Marine Corps, visited Pearl Harbor's USS Arizona Memorial here Nov. 25.

Kibben was the U.S. Pacific Fleet's distinguished guest of honor for the Remembrance Barge Tour. She, along with her family and several other senior chaplains, came to honor the fallen members of the USS Arizona. Members of the Chaplain Corps were also here to pay tribute to one of their own, Capt Thomas L. Kirkpatrick, chaplain of the USS Arizona, who died during the attack that early December morning almost 72 years ago.

According to the Naval Historical Center and the Navy Chaplain Corps, Kirkpatrick was drinking coffee onboard the ship when the attack began and rushed to the sickbay to minister to casualties.

Kibben's daughter, Lindsay, honored Kirkpatrick by dropping flowers into the memorial. After witnessing her daughter's emotional reaction, Kibben realized the significance of passing that history along to future generations.

"My daughter is 16, and she was moved," Kibben said. "It's not important to only the people who survived it, it's important to (future generations). It's our role to pass on the history so that we don't ever forget.

"I was profoundly moved by the fact that we are the recipients of a history that so many chaplains have laid out for us, and a hero that Chaplain Kirkpatrick is, it really is what being a chaplain is all about," Kibben said. "So for me, it was incredibly humbling, it was the weight of responsibility for chaplains to live that legacy. It was awesome, just awesome."

Kibben admires the dedication Kirkpatrick displayed on that "day that will live in infamy." She enjoys having the opportunity to give Marines that same dedication by guarding their confidences.

"Chaplains have a unique perspective on confidentiality, we have a kind of privilege that no other people in the armed services have," said Kibben. "As chaplains, we have a responsibility to guard whatever a Marine says as a sacred trust."

"To be the Chaplain of the Marine Corps is the best job in the Navy," said Kibben. "You're not out here by yourself, you have not only your fellow Marine, but you have a number of people standing by ready to walk you through the challenges the Marine Corps brings. … The fact that the Marine Corps uses Semper Fidelis … means an awful lot to me as a person of faith, and I would hope that Marines know that we are here to help them maintain and share that faith with each other."

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.