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Capt. Jessie Tate, chaplain for Commander U.S. Naval Installations, relaxes in his room at Sasebo Naval Base’s Bachelor Officers Housing. His stay is part of a tour visiting Navy religious ministries personnel in the Pacific. Tate’s visits also included Singapore, Yokosuka Naval Base and Atsugi Naval Air Facility. He heads to South Korea next.

Capt. Jessie Tate, chaplain for Commander U.S. Naval Installations, relaxes in his room at Sasebo Naval Base’s Bachelor Officers Housing. His stay is part of a tour visiting Navy religious ministries personnel in the Pacific. Tate’s visits also included Singapore, Yokosuka Naval Base and Atsugi Naval Air Facility. He heads to South Korea next. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — One of the Navy’s top-ranked chaplains, who keeps a watch on religious ministries at Navy bases worldwide, applauded the programs and improvements about which he’s heard and now has seen in the Pacific.

Capt. Jessie Tate, command chaplain for Commander, U.S. Naval Installations, on Tuesday toured Sasebo’s Religious Ministries Department facilities, calling it a model department.

“Much of the credit goes to the work done the past 1½ years by these two and their staffs,” he said, referring to Capt. Karl Fung, force chaplain for Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, and to Sasebo’s Command Chaplain Cmdr. Harvey Ranard.

“Through Chaplain Fung and what I’ve seen, I’ve learned about the leadership and progressive programs here in Sasebo … and heard about the difference the last couple of years here … like night and day for the better … in serving the community,” Tate said.

“It’s been tremendous everywhere I’ve stopped in the Pacific. I expect I will observe more of the same while I’m in Korea,” he added. Tate specifically lauded efforts at Yokosuka and Sasebo to program alternative events to nightlife and barhopping.

Tate said he plans to share information on programs such as Sasebo’s Reality Check for single sailors and the Alternative New Year’s Celebration at Yokosuka Naval Base with other religious ministry departments.

Efforts to reach sailors in port and developing in them a sense of community and feeling they have a home where they can fulfill spiritual needs are in the spotlight Navywide, he said. It takes funding for these quality programs, but Tate said even with costs mounting from the war on terror, the Navy is “realigning the Chaplain Corps,” not cutting back.

At CNI, a clear list of priorities has taken form for religious ministries, he said.

“We believe that religious ministry departments OCONUS (outside the continental United States) are our number one priority as we evaluate them worldwide,” he said. “The reason is … sailors and their families often have few choices” of places to attend services.

“Often, the base chapel programs are the only show in town,” Tate said. As a result, OCONUS budgets have remained intact and, in some cases, have been augmented.

The second CNI priority, he said, is “training commands with such a high percentage of very young sailors.” The next priority is bases “somewhat isolated in CONUS (continental United States) locations.” The last priority, he said, is metropolitan-area CONUS bases with many choices nearby for religious interaction.

“However, I want to emphasize that we have no interest at all in closing any chapels at any installation,” he said. “But,” he added, “we are learning to prioritize.”

“And hopefully we are learning to standardize some of the programs we know work,” he said. “Then we can make smart decisions about the best use of funds.”


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