Tuesday, October 6, 2015

New Uniform, New Role

Lt. Cornelius Johnson, right, is sworn in as Navy chaplain.
Greenville Seminary alumnus and military chaplain Cornelius Johnson has traded his Air Force blue for Navy white as he has transitioned from his former service branch to a new one, still ministering to the spiritual needs of America;s armed services personnel.

"I just want to thank God for my experience and all the wonderful people I have met in the Air Force and for the opportunity to further serve in the Navy," Lt. Johnson commented upon his commissioning in the Navy.

Lt. Johnson served as an Air Force chaplain for 11 years. His Air Force rank was that of captain, the equivalent of a lieutenant in the Navy. In November, he will be leaving his assignment at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida to assume his new post at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. The Marine Corps is part of the Navy, and while most of the personnel at Twentynine Palms are Marines, a number of personnel, including medical staff, are Navy members. The Navy also provides chaplain services to the Coast Guard. 

"I will have the opportunity to provide ministry to many different services in many different and unique environments," Johnson said in an interview with Air Force Print News Today. "I will be challenged to learn all the service traditions, so that I can provide ministry to them and their families."

Johnson said that his biggest challenge will be to provide wisdom, care and support to a variety of people who come from different religious backgrounds. However, he went on to say that being a daily visible reminder of faith and helping individuals overcome whatever problems they are facing will be the most rewarding part of his job.

"The leadership lessons and dynamics I have learned in the Air Force and experience I have acquired in leading worship services, deployed chapel staffs, and chapel volunteers are a few of the things I plan to bring to my new position in the Navy," said Johnson, who 
has already begun a three-year probationary period with the Navy..

"I think my current understanding of military life, culture, and traditions, as well as the experience that I gained from the Air Force, will greatly benefit me during my time in the Navy," he added.

Lt. Johnson graduated from Greenville Seminary in 2000. He and his wife Dierdre have been living in Tampa, Florida, before moving to their Southern California desert base.