Pacific Stars and Stripes information
for USS HOMME RICHARD

For date 680521


USS HOMME RICHARD was a US Navy unit
Primary service involved, US Navy
South Vietnam
Description: The following is an edited version of an article titled "Helicopter Shuttles Chaplain to Sea Parishes." Photo Captions - Chaplain Reid discusses a sermon with one of his assistants, personnelman 3.C. Charles F. Thompson of Calumet Park, Ill. (USN) Photo Captions - Chaplain (Cmdr.) James D. Reid, senior chaplain on the aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard is lowered from a helicopter to the deck of the destroyer Floyd B. Parks (USN). Aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard (PAO) - On the after deck of the destroyer Floyd B. Parks a signalman crosses two red hand flags and 50 feet above the pitching deck the twin jet H2E helicopter slows to a hover. A small knot of men gather under the helo as a cable drops to within a few feet of the deck. Dangling from the end of the cable is the Protestant chaplain Cdr. James Reid, of San Diego, Calif. He is assigned to this attack carrier. It's Sunday in the Tonkin Gulf and, like the old time circuit rider, the chaplain is going from one place to another holding services. Bringing men to God and God to men is part of the chaplain's job in the Tonkin Gulf. As the helo makes a tight arch in the sky and heads back to the carrier, Reid heads for the small drone hangar on the fantail of the destroyer. Here he will conduct Protestant services for the destroyermen. "The job of a Navy chaplain at sea," said Reid, "is not too different from that of the average pastor, priest or rabbi in a small town in the States. We travel a lot more though, and our church is wherever we can find the room." Reid is the senior chaplain on the Bon Homme Richard. His assistant is a Catholic chaplain. They hold services for the 3,000 man crew, plus the men on the smaller support ships. The chaplain's day starts early and ends late. In the morning he handles all the mail requiring action by a chaplain. A part of each morning is set aside to hold religious instruction for the men and to talk with them about personnel problems. Much of his time is spent responding to Red Cross messages. Some bring good news more often than bad. One chaplain's job is to inform the men of his ship of these messages. Then he helps arrange emergency leaves if warranted. In the afternoon one can find the chaplain touring the ship seeing and being seen. Like a small town minister he visits people where they work. He talks with men on the hangar deck of the aircraft carrier, pilots in their ready rooms or patients in sick bay. "The multi-faceted conflict in Vietnam," Reid said, "confronts men with many problems they don't normally have to contend with." He said it is very satisfying to counsel these men, many whom were only boys a short time ago, in their moments of sorrow or anxiety. "Real counseling requires compassion and sharing the burdens of these young warriors," Reid said. The evenings are devoted to personnel problems or hold religious training. At ten o'clock every night one of the two chaplains aboard Bon Homme Richard holds evening prayer. "The day of a chaplain at sea is busy and varied," says Reid. "We don't object to 16-hour days. Men at war need their God as much as their weapons."

The source for this information was 6805pss.avn supplied by Les Hines


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Last updated 02/23/2000

Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021