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Title:
Interview with Trierian Cash, August 14, 2007
Date:
August 14, 2007
Description:
Interview with Captain Trierian Cash, U.S. Navy Chaplain.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Cash, Trierian Interviewer:  Zarbock, Paul Date of Interview:  8/14/2007 Series:  Military Chaplains Length  60 minutes

 

Zarbock: Good morning. My name is Paul Zarbock. I'm a staff member with the University of North Carolina's Randall Library, University of North Carolina at Wilmington's Randall Library. Today is the 14th of August in the year 2007, and we're videotaping in Newport, Rhode Island. This is part of the chaplain's oral history project being conducted by UNCW. Our interviewee today is Captain Cash. Good morning, sir.

Cash: Good morning.

Zarbock: How are you?

Cash: Doing fine, thank you.

Zarbock: Captain Cash, how long have you been in the Navy?

Cash: I was commissioned in 1981, and so that's about 26 years, total time about 27, with reserve.

Zarbock: Chaplain, what individual or series of individuals or event or series of events led you into selecting the ministry as your profession?

Cash: That's a very easy one for me. One individual who was most influential was a gentleman by the name of Chad Allen, currently retired, living in North Carolina, and he was pastor of First Baptist Church of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and when I was a junior in high school, he, along with several other ministers in the North Myrtle Beach area, began to take a lot of interest in us as young people. I grew up going to church, but not always regularly. It never was a big part of my life, but Reverend Allen showed an interest in me, began to make me feel like that there was something there in the church. I attended a conference in Rock Eagle, Georgia, near Atlanta, sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ.

Zarbock: And how old were you at that time?

Cash: I was I guess 16 at the time, and so at that time I went down there, and for the first time, I really began to understand what Christianity was all about, at that time made a decision to have Christ come into my life, and then I went back and my life was changed drastically. And through the continued influence of Reverend Allen, I eventually decided that I felt called into a full time Christian ministry. He helped me get into college, went first to North Greenville College there in South Carolina, near Greenville, and then to Carson Newman College in Tennessee and so it was through his influence and continued care for my life that I decided to go into the ministry.

Zarbock: So got your Bachelor's degree from Carson Newman?

Cash: I did.

Zarbock: What year was that?

Cash: In 1977 in history, which is sort of my first love anyway, so yeah I was there in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

Zarbock: Well, after graduation what happened?

Cash: Well, things started to move pretty rapidly at that time. I went to work at a church in South Georgia-- Southeastern Georgia-- in a little town called Black Shear, a First Baptist Church. Several of my friends at Carson Newman, one in particular had been down there working in the summer as a youth director. I followed him, and that's where I met my wife, Diane. She was from Black Shear from the First Baptist Church.

Zarbock: Black Shear, B-L-A-C-K?

Cash: S-H-E-A-R, Black Shear. It's a small little village near Waycross, Georgia, a little railroad town. At that time, most everyone was involved in tobacco farming, big tobacco warehouses there in southeastern Georgia, and so at that time was when I met my wife and stayed there for that summer, the summer of '77, after I graduated from Carson Newman. And then eventually I went to, I moved back to Myrtle Beach for a year. My father was a brick mason, and at one time, I thought I was going to be a brick mason. I really always admired my father for his hard work, and he was not an outspoken man but a churchgoer, an individual who, when he said something, you could believe it, very well-respected in the community and a great mason. And so I went back, and this was between the time I left Georgia and I was planning on starting a seminary at Southeastern, Wake Forest, but I was still searching in my life to exactly what God wanted me to do. So I went back and worked a year with him as a brick mason just to clear my head, to make certain I was on the right track, and so Diane and I moved back up to North Myrtle Beach in that year of '78.

Zarbock: You were married then?

Cash: Yes, we married right after. Well I met Diane in the summer of '77. We were married the following summer-- in '78-- and then we moved to Myrtle Beach, and I worked with my father for a year. And then, in retrospect, that was probably one of the most important years in my life, in that I moved, at that point, after laying brick for a couple months, that God had called me into a different work, but my father always encouraged me. I mean, he would have been proud if I'd have done anything and certainly followed him to be a brick mason, but I knew his heart was somewhere else, and he was encouraging me to go and follow what I felt was important and I did. So we entered Southeastern Seminary in the Fall of '78, and stayed there until '81, and then commissioned in the chaplain candidate program, which, at that time, was called the theological student program. I was commissioned, and when a person is commissioned into that program, the commission is an ensign, but is to wear a cross as a chaplain. And I was able to, at that point, begin to entertain the thought of military chaplaincy. I'm not certain exactly why or what happened that made me interested. I was always very patriotic. All three of my older brothers, two were Marines and my youngest, the brother next to me was a sailor. My dad was in the Army. And so it felt to me, like looking at the military chaplaincy, that it was something that I'd be able to pursue, so the chaplain candidate program, the theological student program gave me the opportunity to examine to see what it was like to be in the military and to be a military chaplain.

Zarbock: While you were in seminary, how did you earn your bread and butter?

Cash: Oh, gracious. My first job was, I worked at the Westinghouse plant and made electric meters for homes and so I worked on an assembly line. I would go to school during the day, and about seven o'clock at night I would go in and work a full shift, about 3:00 in the morning, and then go home and sleep for a few hours and then go to class. So I worked that job for a while. My wife was a nursing assistant working at Wake Medical Center there in Raleigh, so our schedule was very, very hectic. We rarely saw one another and I remember I had an old Volkswagen that I had bought from a guy graduated from seminary. It had a hole in the floor of it and we had cardboard down there. And the good things and those are the fun things I remember about seminary. I look back now, and I guess there were some very hectic times, but working that job, and later on I stopped working there at the Westinghouse factory and began to do grounds at the seminary. We'd eat and rake and mow and do all those things. I guess I think back on that, and for me it was a very important time too. It was a humbling experience, I guess, in some ways, to run a weed eater and those types of things, but it taught me a lot, plus I cleaned buildings at night, so I did and would preach around at different churches, unlike a lot of other people who were in seminary who may get an interim pastorate job at one of the local churches. I decided just to preach when the opportunities availed themselves and work other jobs. And for me, concentrating on my studies as well as almost working full time at a church would have been too much for me.

Zarbock: Was there student housing available?

Cash: We had student housing. We first moved into a set of new apartments there in Wake Forest that they had just built, a duplex, one of the first new duplexes there. We lived there for a while, but the rent, of course, was about $100 a month, something really drastic at that time, for somebody cutting weeds and mowing grass. Then we moved into a cheaper apartment which was still school housing there at Wake Forest, so quite a great experience, and our number two daughter was born there, Michelle, in 1981 in January that year right before I was-- In fact, a month before I was commissioned as a chaplain, some great days there. I look back on that. Great professors at Southeastern. I think back to a lot of classes. Enjoying history like I do, taking courses on the book of Jeremiah or Isaiah-- and getting into the historical aspects, I really enjoyed that. The thing I enjoyed least were some of the languages, Hebrew and Greek, which I had at eight o'clock on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. When I was awake, it was difficult. Most of the time I was asleep through those classes, but I really enjoyed church history as you might imagine because of my interest in history.

Zarbock: You're now the father of two children?

Cash: Actually, three children.

Zarbock: Three?

Cash: Yes, three daughters. Stacy, my oldest daughter, Diane had Stacy when I married her in Georgia. She was three years old, and I adopted Stacy at that time, and then Michelle came in '81, and Rebecca in 1983.

Zarbock: As a father myself, I remember the days when the children were small. They were very demanding of time or they needed attentiveness of changing diapers and feeding, and doing all those things that little babies require. So here you are, working. Here you are, going to school and you're the father of three and you've got a wife. How did you pack that all into a week, into a day, into an hour?

Cash: As I look back on it now, I just did it because I had to do it. I didn't have any other choice, and I think that the girls were shown all the attention and care that they needed during that time. Diane was incredible during that period, working the full-time job at Wake Medical Center, and then, of course, the kids would be in daycare at times, but it was something we knew. We knew we were preparing for something better and something bigger, and so that motivated me during those times, just to keep on going no matter how tired I was and how sleepy I was, and there were some great times and met some wonderful people-- but those three years at seminary shaped me into the person I am, because I was responsible for my children, my wife, for getting an education, and also I knew that I had God's calling in my life, and so nothing was going to stop me at that point. I felt like if I could get a few hours sleep a night and care for the children and get to class, I was going to be fine.

Zarbock: But not only did you make a total commitment, so did your wife.

Cash: Oh, she had to. I mean, obviously, she knew we were preparing for something beyond seminary, and Diane has always had a big, a great work ethic as she does today. She still is in home healthcare and cares for elderly patients and they love her, and she has such a sense of caring for them and concern for them that they hate to see her go when we have to pack up and move again. So that characteristic in my wife-- you know we've had our moments like everybody else-- but I think if I had to say about my wife the one thing that she has that I really admire and wish I was more like, was her sensitivity to people, her caring for people, and just this continual ability to make certain that people feel very, very special, and Diane's just incredible. So she started out with a great work ethic. She grew up on a chicken farm in South Georgia, so from an early age, she was out in the chicken houses and milking cows and doing all those things I didn't do at Myrtle Beach, but she was just always right there when it came to that. God got her through it and then her desire that we were in this together. And she knew that at that time we still had not made a definite decision about military chaplaincy, but I was commissioned. I was drilling with the reserve unit there in Raleigh.

Zarbock: Were you paid for that?

Cash: No. When you're a chaplain candidate, what they do is you can come to the Chaplain School here. I came here in the summer of '81 to go through the basic course, and during that period I was paid, but all the drills that I did I was not paid for, but I was gaining a knowledge of what it meant to be a military chaplain and so that was important to me. So that was worth the sacrifice, but you also start getting points toward pay if you eventually come on active duty. So there was some compensation later on, but not at that time.

Zarbock: Nothing immediate?

Cash: No, sir. And the church, my home church in North Myrtle Beach, which was then the First Baptist Church of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were helping us along in seminary. The wonderful thing about the Southern Baptist Convention for those preparing for ministry, they pay the tuition in six, seven Baptist seminaries. I had to pay rent and all my other expenses and books and things of that nature, but the Southern Baptists were-- I would never complain about the Southern Baptist Convention, because they helped me educate me down at North Greenville, Carson Newman but particularly at Southeastern, so that was important to us. And my own church helped out from time to time, and I still have a close relationship. I was down there, regrettably, to do a funeral for a young man that had been in the church who[sic] I had known since he was an infant, and so went back, but still very close ties with the church down there.

Zarbock: I'm going to clear up a word that has many definitions. You said that you would attend drills in Raleigh. Well to some people that means close order marching.

Cash: Yes.

Zarbock: What constituted drill?

Cash: At that time in Raleigh, and still today, to a certain extent, you have chaplain units around the country in the Naval Reserve, and so a drill simply means you go to the reserve center or we may go to Camp Lejeune. One time we went up to Quantico for a weekend trip, so, two days of being with other chaplains. Sometimes we would do worship services for the individuals there at the reserve center, but basically: learning to be a chaplain and continuing your military education.

Zarbock: So it really is experiential learning.

Cash: Experiential learning, and for me it was great, because it gave me really a good flare. There were senior chaplains, reserve chaplains, one who was Harvey Duke, who was pastor of First Baptist Church of Kelly, North Carolina, there, near Raleigh. And Harvey was a Captain at the time and pastor of the Baptist Church there, and I learned a great deal from him and also Horace Hamm, who was down at Fuquay-Varina, which is near Raleigh there. In fact, Horace just called me the other day and talk about some issues.

Zarbock: Say that name again.

Cash: Fuquay-Varina.

Zarbock: How do you spell that?

Cash: From what I remember Fuquay is F-U-Q-U-A-Y and then V-A-R-I-N-A.

Zarbock: It's hyphenated.

Cash: Yes, sir.

Zarbock: One of the stranger names.

Cash: It's Fuqay-Varina. Just has a great tone about it. But those individuals, as well as some younger men who were in seminary, and others who had already finished and they were pastoring churches in the Raleigh area, and that's where it would come, so it was a real fellowship. It was a great opportunity to get to know them and to be a part of a unit that was ministering to people in the Navy and Marine Corps at that time.

Zarbock: So more and more you're being socialized into the life of the Navy chaplain.

Cash: Very much so, yes. Learning techniques and traditions and customs and being mentored by these older men. At that time, again, I was undecided whether I would ever come on active duty and spend 20 or 30 years in the Navy, but regardless, it was a wonderful opportunity to learn and be mentored by these individuals.

Zarbock: I think you're a little modest, too. In addition to you making the observations, people are also watching you.

Cash: Yes, sir.

Zarbock: You're being evaluated as to what capability.

Cash: Yes, sir, and they're looking for leadership qualities and certainly spirituality. Spirituality is the center of what we do as a chaplain, and I think they were looking at those types of things and saying, "This individual appears to have the right stuff to be a Navy chaplain," so that was important, too, so, yes, it was certainly a time of being watched and prepped during that period, but a great time, and for me, to get away from seminary for the weekend and to get away from the house and cutting weeds and mowing grass. I felt that was very therapeutic for me.

Zarbock: So you finally finish your seminary work. And you graduated and there's that great big world out there.

Cash: Oh, gracious. That was-- I remember at that time, thinking, "What in the world am I going to do?" I mean, I knew that God was leading me, and I have all the faith that something would eventually work out, but for a young man finishing seminary--

Zarbock: And by the way, how old are you?

Cash: I'm 52 years old.

Zarbock: No, no, no, how old were you then?

Cash: Okay, then, that was in 1981, so I would have been 34, I guess-- 26. I was 26 when I finished seminary. I had to think about that.

Zarbock: Twenty-six, a father of three.

Cash: Yes.

Zarbock: You've got an undergraduate degree.

Cash: In History.

Zarbock: Liberal Arts in History.

Cash: Yes, sir.

Zarbock: You also had a degree in?

Cash: Master of Divinity Degree.

Zarbock: And you're ready to take on the world.

Cash: If I could back up just one second, another thing when I married Diane, of course, where Stacy was three years old, I was a really young man at that time, and to take on a marriage is one thing, but to be a father was another, and that was a different experience for me, and so that added some pressure. Everything worked out well and Stacy is now in her 30s and got two sons of her own, and I'm so proud of her that I think back to that, and those were some challenging times for me, personally, to be able to think about raising children with all the other things that were going on in my life so, yeah, that was an incredible time.

Zarbock: It's only the young that are that foolish.

Cash: I know. There's no doubt about it. I think back: What was I thinking? But I would not do it any differently. Again, finishing seminary and, with all the, of course, being a Baptist pastor, we do not have a hierarchical system like many of the churches, such as Lutheran or Episcopalian, where you're assigned to a parish somewhere, so Baptist pastors are pretty much out on their own looking for churches, following God's leading. And seminary does have some placement-- types of a placement system-- where they know churches that are without pastors, so I ended up going down to Williston, South Carolina which was below Columbia, north of Aiken, in Monroe County near the Savannah River Nuclear Power Plant. And there was a little church, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, very, very much in the country. This is a small town of a few thousand people. They had 18 Baptist churches, so you know that was pretty incredible. You couldn't get a Presbyterian or a Methodist. I literally mean this, that there was at least ten or 12 churches that called themselves Baptists, and so at that time, most of the churches were segregated, even in 1981. That's another story to tell, there, but I was called to Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. I remember a lady by the name of Idoemie Simmons the first Sunday I was there.

Zarbock: I'm sorry; what was her name?

Cash: Her name was Idoemie, I think it was I-D-O-E-M-I-E. I don't know much about that name, but Idoemie Simmons. And she was kind of like one of the family, the oldest families in the church, and she had been there longer than anybody else, and she pretty much ran the show. And the first Sunday I was there, as I was walking out, Idoemie came up there very kindly but very forcefully, and said, "Preacher, I've seen a lot of them come, and a lot of them do and walked on out." And so that let me know right then, okay, I've kind of got an idea who you are. And there were other individuals, some of the deacons. I was a young man and never worked under them as a youth director in the church and here I was pastor of the church and I was very young at that time, and many folks who were in the church, we did have some young couples, but I remember the deacons' meetings and feeling very fearful, going in there with some of these older gentlemen who had been deacons in the Baptist Church for years and years and years. So I learned a lot of lessons during that period. I learned how to stand on my own, how to stand up for myself when I needed to, but also what battles to fight and what ones to let go. So in a couple years in that church I learned a great deal.

Zarbock: And suddenly you're also a business manager.

Cash: Yes, sir.

Zarbock: And I wonder if you had much exposure to that in seminary.

Cash: Hardly any. I mean when you go to seminary, the Baptist seminary, and there are six or seven Baptist seminaries, there are some practical lessons on church management, and they talk a little bit about budget and things of that nature, but not nearly enough. And if you never had that experience-- and my father was not a great financial manager-- and I probably consider myself not a great financial manager. I pay my taxes and can balance my checkbook, but other than that, I'm not very savvy on a lot of things where other people grow up in a household where that is a very normal part. And they're stressed and so try to do a budget in a church and having a visionary type of taking visit, any type of stance really to change the world like most people at that time do, and particularly ministers, to win the world for Christ, to care for people, to help people. And so I remember saying, "We need to expand our budget and we need to change the world." We did some of those things, but I learned that most folks are pretty set in their ways. They've got their ways of doing things. Most Baptist churches have been there for years and years and years and, "Preacher, we just don't do it that way." I said, "Well I'm trying to put together a budget." They said, "Don't worry about it. We'll just give you money when you need it. We'll pay the bills when you need it." This is a small country church.

Zarbock: What was the population of the church?

Cash: The church was probably about 300 members, which sounds large, but on an average Sunday morning you would have 120 to 150 people in worship. And also, as a young preacher in a Baptist church, I would preach on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights, so you had to prepare three sermons a week. And that may not sound like a lot, but to get fresh and new material, and to give the folks the things they needed during those services, it took a lot of work on my part. Those types of things did not come naturally to me, and so I did a lot of studying and a lot of preparation, plus the church was old and the furnace was underneath the church, and on Sunday mornings I had to go in there and kick the heater, the furnace, to get it started. That was in the day of the old mimeograph machines and the bulletins. I'd type them out myself on an old typewriter on Sunday nights and run it off on that mimeograph machine, and my hands would be blue on Sunday morning because of that, but what a great experience, what a learning experience. I was pretty much a one man show. We had a choir director and a few others, but again, just a great preparation for coming to the Navy.

Zarbock: I hope you had an organist too.

Cash: I did have an organist.

Zarbock: Did you have an organ by the way?

Cash: We had an organ, but I've got to tell you this story. Baptisteries in a Baptist Church are very important. That's where we baptize by total immersion, and behind the pulpit, there was a baptismal, of course, with your typical picture of the Jordan River flowing out. And the first Sunday I was there, I said, "Well, where are the heaters in this Baptistery?" They said, "We've got a way we heat the water." I said, "Okay." Well, their way of heating the water-- and there was no hot water running into it-- was they had two tin pans and two coils with an electric coil that you plug in, and you put that in water. And they said, "Don't worry about it. No one's ever been hurt by it." But I'll tell you, I never will forget that as long as I live. And so I said, "Well, before I go into that water, I don't care how cold it is, those pans are coming out." I said, "I'm not getting in that water." And there was a lot of baptisms of some children, some adults, but to see those deacons put that electrical pan down in that water, I said, "No thank you." I was naive at the time, but not that much.

So through all those experiences, I'm getting ahead of myself, but as I said: much later, when I came in the Navy, and we're dealing with command announcers and chief petty Officers and the Navy hierarchy and the systematic way we do things in the Navy, that church really helped prepare me for the Navy. After dealing with Idoemie Simmons most COs didn't seem that difficult to me, because if you can get by Idoemie, you can get by anybody.

I say that to say that most churches require chaplains who come in the Navy to have some pastoral experience. Some have experience in a hospital. Some will have experience, maybe, in music ministry or youth ministry, but nothing prepares you like being a pastor at a local church. It gives you a sense of identity, but it also helps you to discover your gifts, your weaknesses, your strengths, and then when you do come on active duty in the Navy or in the reserve Navy, you're better prepared. And so I really encourage my students here at the Chaplain School, "If you're thinking about an easy way in the Navy, take your time. Live the experiences you need. You'll be a better chaplain for it later on."

Zarbock: Well, how long were you in? How long did you serve?

Cash: Almost two years. At that time, after seminary, I did what we call supersede into the Chaplain Corps. You become a chaplain instead of just a chaplain candidate or a theological student, and there's a process when you supersede and that's when you become a reserve officer. Prior to that, you had a different designator, a designator as a chaplain candidate or a theological student, the designator was 1945. The designator for chaplain is 4100, or for reserve officer, 4105. That's technical, but it was an important step for me going from a chaplain candidate to becoming a reserve chaplain. I became a reserve chaplain right when I got to South Carolina, right about that same time. I drilled in Charleston once a month to get in a drill at another reserve unit. Another really interesting time and another time when I was mentored and learned a lot about future ministry in the Navy, it was called NAVREL 107, a religious grouping or Unit 107. The interesting thing about being in Charleston--

Zarbock: And what year was this, by the way?

Cash: This was in 19-- , this was in '81 when I went to the church. I began that process and became a reserve chaplain. At that time, if you've ever been to Charleston, there are many Episcopal churches in Charleston, a very Episcopal city that came from the time when the Anglicans dominated the eastern seaboard. In the reserve unit I was in, out of I think 12, maybe 13 chaplains in the unit, about ten of those were Episcopalian. Charlie Furlow, I remember Charlie was a chaplain or teacher at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, and that was within the unit, and so that was really my first introduction to an Episcopal priest, and again, another learning experience.

Zarbock: And collegial affiliation.

Cash: Very much so, very much so, and it was a good time for me, because coming from seminary and coming from a Baptist church, you think everybody in the world is Baptist, and so it was a good preparation, also, for me coming to the Navy with the multiple faith groups that we had later on, so, great camaraderie in the group. Chaplain Furlow was a Navy Reserve Captain at the time, just an incredible individual who took me under his wing and continued to teach me and to mold me as we continued this process. At that time, I was still thinking, "Am I going to stay in this church, forever? I'll go to another church, or maybe I want to consider active duty," so that was the time I was considering making the Naval chaplaincy my main career. So I'd drill on weekends. At that time, I don't know how much money I was making at the church. It wasn't a lot.

Another story I have to tell you. I remember one day, one Sunday morning after the service, the folks were so gracious. I talked about their ported edges at times, but they were in so many ways very gracious to Diane and I and the girls, and Rebecca was also born there, my youngest, while we were at the church and so this is what you did. This was watermelon and cantaloupe country down there, and so after they would plow all the fields up after the season, gnats would be everywhere, and they had a covering out back, a barbeque pit with old screens on them like a bed spring. And that's where they would cook their chickens and do all of that, but the joke was, you couldn't tell what was in your chowder or your soup, if it was gnats or pepper. And they were, they were bad even inside the church. I never will forget that.

One of the deacons noticed that the tires on my car were looking pretty bald, and so after the service, I ended up getting down in front and giving the benediction. They said, "Preacher, wait a second before you go on. We have a little present for you." And so they rolled me four tires down the aisle and put them on the car, and that's the kind of people they were. I mean, anything I needed, the parsonage was right beside the church, an old parsonage, and it's seen its better days.

There was a newer home up behind the church in the country there, that some of the people wanted to buy as a new parsonage. Well, I went through that process with them. Of course, Idoemie had told me that, "You just need to be uppity here those types of things. You think you need a newer house." Well I was thinking of the future of the church, too, and they did buy the house and it worked out fine, but those are the types of experiences, rolling tires down the aisle, watermelons and cantaloupes and vegetables on my porch every morning so, again, gracious godly people who had their own ways.

I mentioned the racial issue, and in South Carolina in 1981-- we did not consolidate schools until my junior year in high school in 1971 timeframe, and so there was still a lot of transition going on. And there's a doctor in the church. I went down. He told me, "Anytime you need anything, preacher, come to me. I won't charge you anything," which was pretty gracious. We had some health insurance but not a lot at that time. The first morning I went down there, I was in the waiting room, and some lady tapped me on the shoulder and said, "You're in the wrong waiting room," and they had a waiting room for the African Americans and a waiting room for the whites. And it really took me aback, because after being in seminary and getting all these new ideas about life, and the South was changing so much at that time. It was really interesting in the ministerial association to have black pastors with white pastors at that time, even in 1980-81, was still a new thing and some of the people in the church just could not get over that. I mean they'd lived their whole life in a segregated South, but these are the same people and that was what I had to deal with at that time, but what a great experience in the church, there, good preparation. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to go on.

Zarbock: No, no. Well when you got on your horse and were heading for Damascus and this bolt of lightning struck you, when did you decide to go into the military chaplaincy? Was there a lead event?

Cash: I don't know there was really any precipitating type of, really type of one event. It was a series of things, first knowing history as I do, and loving tradition and customs, and those types of things, it appeared to me the military would be right up my alley. Now this many years later, I look back and say, "Yes, it's exactly where I fitted in best." Having my brothers who were in the military, my father in the military, very patriotic, I mean, I grew up that way, the respect of the flag, and so I began to ask myself, "How could I best be used in serving God in my life?"

And that's where the chaplain candidate program, there was a chaplain by the name of Charles Carter who was a Southern Baptist chaplain, who is now retired, just a great guy who I love to death. And he came to the seminary in his uniform and talked about how he was serving God and country. Well for me that was like a bolt of lightning. "Hey, where can I sign up?" And that's when I became interested in the chaplaincy and became a chaplain candidate or a theological student at that time. So that was the beginning of it, and when I was pasturing there at Pleasant Hill in Williston, I was still struggling with whether I should stay as a pastor in the church, or I was starting to get ideas about the military chaplaincy or full-time military chaplaincy.

So I went down to Atlanta, Georgia, to the Home Mission Board, it was called at that time. Now it's the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention-- and spoke with the chaplain endorser the head of chaplaincy, and I said, "I'm exploring this. I don't know what the right answers are at this time, but I'm convinced God has something in store for me in the future." Had pastored for a couple years there at that point, and I said, "If there's an opportunity or if there's an opening, I would like to be considered for it." And so I spent a day down there with him, talking. Diane and I came back from that meeting, we both went down, convinced that God was leading into the military chaplaincy. I don't know any other way to say it or to affirm it.

We came back, and within two days he called me and said, "Can you go next month?" And that was pretty much an answer to our prayers, in that we were following God's leading our life. And so, pasturing there in Williston, it was about 100 miles from Charleston and I had been drilling down there as a reservist, and so my first set of orders were to a destroyer squadron there in Charleston, so what a great transition for the family. We weren't uprooted and moved to Alaska or to overseas. We had an opportunity to be in a somewhat familiar area, and to begin our career or begin our time as a military chaplain's family, chaplaincy family, so that was a great transition. I was at DESRON 6. I was familiar with the base. I was familiar with the work on the waterfront there in Charleston, and I cannot think of a better way.

Zarbock: So you said DESRON?

Cash: Destroyer squadron on the East Coast at that time, or in the Navy at that time, you had destroyer squadrons and cruiser groups, commander cruiser destroyer groups and all that. So I had about 17 ships in the squadron that I was responsible for. There was another chaplain, my first senior chaplain was the guy by the name of Charlie Burke, who later came to be director of the school, here, and he was born Catholic from Boston and again, a cultural shock. I love the Roman Catholic chaplains to death. They had been my mentors, my friends, and growing up in an area of South Carolina where most people are Baptist, we had a Catholic Church. But I remember, there was one guy in our school, Chris Tillman, who was Catholic, and that was the only one and everyone else was either Baptist or Methodist, maybe a Presbyterian thrown in here or there, and so meeting a Boston priest, to meet a Boston priest for the first time, it's an incredible experience.

Zarbock: That's a pure type isn't it?

Cash: It is. I mean it's very hard to describe, but if you were to think about someone being very Catholic, very dedicated and loyal to their profession, but with that Bostonian type of attitude and swagger, that's a Boston priest, and they're a very tight community. That was my first one, but I met many more over the years, and have grown to appreciate a lot of them, but Charlie was the senior chaplain. He had come back on active duty. I think he was a commander at that time. Of course, I was a lieutenant, a two striper, and Charlie took me under his wing and taught me and walked with me and respected who I was as a Baptist, and that was the first thing that impressed me about him and about the chaplaincy. While we have our differences, and we can argue at times over theology and the way we should be doing things, there's a mutual respect for our faith traditions, and I felt that from him. And there have been times when I haven't felt that from everybody in the chaplaincy. There are those individuals who believe because they are a certain faith group, either they're superior or theirs is the right way, and they never can get beyond that idea or belief, and it hampers their ministry. For those who have been successful naval chaplains here, and chaplaincy in general, it's a mutual respect, cooperation without compromise, whatever you want to call it, we've called it over the years, but Charlie Burke was like that. He went up on later to be our detailer, in fact, when he was detailer was when I got my orders to go in the personnel exchange program to the U.K., so I'll also be grateful. Charlie came back for the dedication or for the stand up command this past April here at the school, so I got to see him again, but another one of those individuals.

So I was in Charleston, 17 ships. I can still tell you the names of every ship and every hole number. I don't know why I remember them, but I do. It was so exciting. It was so fulfilling to see, to go onboard those ships and to be a chaplain in the destroyer squadron is very unique in some ways. If you go to port aboard a ship where you're the ship's chaplain full time and you're part of the ship's crew, there's a special bond there, but in the middle of the destroyer squadron, you have 17 COs, XOs, lay leaders, and so every time you go aboard ship, even though you're a part of them, you're really not a part of them. You work for the commodore, the destroyer squadron commander, and there are some funny and interesting stories about that.

But I remember the ships a great deal. At that time, there was tactical squadron chaplains and readiness squadron chaplains, and so the lone member destroyer squadrons were like four and six in Charleston, and then you had tactical squadrons which were 20 and 36. I can't believe I remember that, but I do.S And so the tactical squadron chaplains were those that deployed for long periods of time. The readiness squadron chaplains, they were kind of the permanent administrative commands of the ships.

So I would ride for shorter periods of time, maybe a month, maybe two months, but I'm still gone most of the time, just like the other chaplains, but it was not on an extended deployment. We would go on port visits to Ft. Lauderdale. That was one of the hardship ones, and down to Nassau. In fact, I was on, I want to say, the USS Thorn, which was one of the Spruance-class destroyers, pulled into Nassau, and it was in 1984 because I had learned my grandmother had died. I remember, this happens. Mainly you relate different times to different events, but I remember the Captain coming in and saying, "Your grandmother has passed away." He was very sensitive to that. I was not able to get off, because of flights and everything, to get back to my grandmother's funeral.

My grandmother was also someone who really influenced me in my life, and a great Christian lady. You talk about a Baptist. She was a Baptist. She wouldn't play cards. She wouldn't dance. But she did dip snuff. That was okay. That was acceptable. This was North Carolina and she grew up in that era and time. I remember two blue snuff cans and I remember getting a bee sting on the bottom of my foot and Memaw going out and putting the tobacco juice on it to make it feel better, but I really wanted to get back for that funeral and was unable to. Again, family is very important to me, and family history is very important to me. I do a lot of genealogy. So I found out Memaw had died, but I wasn't able to get back.

Those were the types of things we did and met some great people. What I love today, is to run into a Navy Captain who was a lieutenant on the staff when I was on the staff, and they'd say, "Chaplain Cash or Randy?" I'd look and it would take me a few minutes, but then I'd focus and say, "I know who you are, now." That's the other great thing about the military chaplaincy, the relationships that you build. It's a very, very wonderful time in Charleston during that period. I could go on all day with stories about DESRON 6.

Zarbock: There were 17 destroyers and there were two chaplains, am I correct?

Cash: Yes.

Zarbock: How did you rotate through this population of 17?

Cash: Well, there's a lot of creative ways you can do this. I mean I would get away more. Chaplain Burke or Charlie Burke, at the time, the priest from Boston, he would pretty much stay back and kind of run the office and deal with the ships that were in port. I would go out and ride the ships that were underway at that time. At one time, to tell you another story about Charlie Burke, which is a wonderful story, and he would testify to this I'm sure. But when I first got there, there was always the problem with where we were going to be housed, or where our offices would be, because there was a lot of the chaplains who were together in kind of like a center at that time, the destroyer squadron chaplains and some of the other ship chaplains. My first office was a renovated dog pound, and this is the truth. And I would come home and false bulkheads we had to put up, very crude and rudimentary. It was amazing. But Charlie was like that. Charlie always played that type of hand. He would say, "Well, if we show the commanders that we're willing to deal with what we have to deal with, they will help us later in our ministry." So he was always saying, "It's okay not to have money or a budget. They'll give us what we need." That was his mentality.

I'm coming in, in the morning, and roaches had been on my desk. You could not keep a piece of paper or a book on your desk, because it would be destroyed in the morning, so that's the dog pound story. We can get into some better digs later on, but that was another learning experience, what it means sometimes to be a man or woman of peace in a war fighting organization. We were in an institutional ministry, and I think chaplains do make some sacrifices because of that. You got some commander who will just give you anything you need, and others who don't want to give you the time of day. The nature of the animal, the tension between the two sides of the collar. I learned that early on in Charleston at DESRON 6, some great COs of the ships. I mean I'm still in contact with some of those individuals who are retired, today, but that was every experience I've had in my life that's molded me into something different, but that was my preliminary introduction into full-time active duty Navy ministry, and what a way to learn it, from 17 war ships.

Zarbock: But your wife and children are located in Charleston?

Cash: They are. We moved the family down there, which was our first move in the Navy, even though we moved a couple times from seminary to college and those types of things.

Zarbock: Did they provide quarters?

Cash: Yes. We lived on the naval weapons station. In fact, we thought we were, had reached Mecca, there. It was an incredible experience, right near a golf course, right at the Naval weapons station, right at Goose Creek. There was a chapel out there. Now I think all that's left in Charleston is a Naval hospital. You've got the nuclear power school. It's changed. Over the course, Charleston closed the naval base after we were there, but we lived in Navy housing, had a fireplace. We had four bedrooms for the girls. And for a young lieutenant and someone coming from a situation like I had been in at Pleasant Hill, financially, it was a real step up for us, too. I mean, we were able to go to McDonald's every once in a while, so we were very appreciative of what the Navy provided at that point, and the collegiality among the lieutenants out there, got to know our neighbors. We're all in the same boat, so to speak and so some great individuals there. My parents were still living in Myrtle Beach at the time, and so they were able to come down and see us. Daddy loved to come to Charleston. He loved the girls. Daddy died in 1995, and you thought the girls rose and set on him. He loved them. But, yeah, Navy housing and a great experience, a great experience for us.

Zarbock: How long were you there?

Cash: We were in Charleston from-- I can tell you the exact day, 4 December, 1983 until 31 December, 1985, and then I came to Newport, Rhode Island for my first tour up here.

Zarbock: What were you doing in Newport?

Cash: I came to Newport at that time, a little different than it is now, from 1985 to 2007. It's been about 22 years, obviously, but there were still ships in Newport. There's a destroyer squadron here. Of course you had the war college and surface warfare officer school, and many of the other training commands were here in Newport, but at that time, you had six chaplains who were assigned to naval education training command Newport. That's what it was called at that point, and I came in as the Officer Candidate School chaplain, had some responsibilities on Sunday at the chapel, but my office was in King Hall, which anybody in the Navy who's come through Newport, knows King Hall and Nimitz Hall. And so I had my office on my first day, so I was beginning to experience a new side of the Navy, officer candidates coming through. Of course you had the supply corps. You had SEALs going in, light Officers. At that time, all the officer candidate training was in Newport or Pensacola. The air officer candidate training was in Pensacola.

Zarbock: But essentially you were on the faculty.

Cash: Essentially I was on the faculty, exactly right.

Zarbock: And you're still a lieutenant?

Cash: I was still a lieutenant, and I was involved in every aspect of life in officer candidate school. We had the CO prior to Captain Muldoon, I think it was Captain Redding, and Captain Redding really appreciated the work of chaplains and the influence the chaplains had in the educational teaching field. So I did a lot of teaching. I did not teach MOBOARD or anything about maneuvering. I would teach ethics classes, various types of customs, traditions, Naval history, which I love, so I didn't mind volunteering for that one, so I was able to begin at that time, doing a lot of teaching on the staff. The life at officer candidate school, this is very, this is the formal training that Officers get when they come through before they're commissioned, so we'd have a class every 16 weeks. We would graduate, go through the process of having a big ball at the Officers' club, and so Diane and I flourished in that atmosphere, I did on the teaching side, on the counseling side and on the day-to-day activity. I was a big runner at the time, so I was a natural, I guess to be with them. And Diane was involved with the wives and the spouses in many of the activities of the Officer Candidate School. I kept telling myself I can't believe I have the opportunity to do this. I was enjoying it that much. Plus I was getting to preach on Sundays from time to time at the Chapel of Hope, which is still here.

Unlike back then, we only had one chaplain on staff at naval station Newport. At that time we had six and one of the chaplains would do Officer Candidate School, one would do Officer Indoctrination School. One would do the Naval Academy Prep School. Another would have other responsibilities for the squads or whatever. We've learned to do the same with less. It continues to happen and that's just the nature of the animal. The military has changed a lot in the years I've been in, and when we had six chaplains, it was easier to provide a lot more services and assistance to the men and women of the Navy, but that's life. Yeah, so we were here from December of 1985--1990.

I remember too, it being the coldest place I'd ever experienced in my life. My first experience here, was in the summer of 1981 when I came to Chaplain School, another great experience. In this building right here when I came through, you didn't have all the pictures on the wall, and this deck here that we're sitting on right now in my office was the base library, as I was sharing earlier.

So I went to the classroom on the third deck, and I remember Chaplain Trower, who was the chief of chaplains at that time, Chaplain Fenansteer, who was the director of the school. My course officer was Chaplain Iris Starling. Chaplain Starling has two sons who are Marine Officers. In fact, Chaplain Williams, who just came to duty, worked for one of Chaplain Starling's sons at Camp Lejeune. You know how that perpetuates itself. So, a great experience. I remember walking on to the point over here, where the chapel and Officer Candidate School is at King Hall, and thinking, "I've never felt this cold in my life," and it was. I mean, the wind comes up Narragansett Bay, comes up and whips around King Hall and the Chapel of Hope, and in the wintertime your face just instantly freezes.

(Tape Change)

Zarbock: Tape number two. Captain Cash. 14 August, 2007, Paul Zarbok. Well, Captain, you're stationed here and you're on the faculty.

Cash: Yes. I also came to this school, and as we said, I stayed here from 19-- December, early part of January, 1986 to October, 1988. Then I had the opportunity to head back south and I went aboard my first full-time ship, which was the USS Nashville, LPD13. The Captain at that time was Captain Patrick Muldoon, an Irishman with a background obviously, and good Roman Catholic. He had been the director or commanding officer of the Officer's Candidate School here. This happens frequently in the Navy. A commanding officer or an admiral or whomever will take a liking to people, whether it's the chaplain or doctor or somebody on his staff. So Captain Muldoon asked me to come down, if I could get orders to Nashville. So he intervened on my behalf with the Chaplain Corps detailer. So I went and moved to the family down there in October of 1988 to Norfolk, Virginia and became ship's chaplain on the USS Nashville.

Zarbock: So you really were selected by--

Cash: Yeah. I mean, I don't want to overemphasize that, but the Captain, we worked well together. Here's Muldoon and Cash and he liked the way I operated, the way I talked. But also just my manner with the men and women under his command and particularly his students. I was a known entity to him, and so he asked me to come and be ship's chaplain. I was honored to do that. It was good for me, because when you transfer between duty station to duty station, to have to know a new CO and a group of men is sometimes pretty difficult. So I went to Nashville, already knowing where all the skeletons were and was able to take right up. We moved the family down to Norfolk, down at Virginia Beach. We found a townhouse down there where the girls were near some good schools out in Virginia Beach. And then I left and met the ship on Tulane, France that year. So I went to Norfolk in October, got Diane and the girls moved into--

Zarbock: The year is?

Cash: 1988. I, Diane moved in, and the girls moved in. Then I headed out and I was able to go and spend about a week in England on the way to meet the ship down in Tulane. There had been a Royal Navy officer who was on exchange teaching at Officer Candidate School by the name of Charlotte Manley, and Charlotte was just a delightful person, and she got to know Diane and I and the girls really well. We ended up, I went, she was still here, but I ended up only staying two weeks or a week in England. Her parents actually picked me up at the airport, there, at Heathrow.

Zarbock: Her name was Charlene?

Cash: Charlotte. Charlotte Manley. Her dad was Patrick and her mom, Priscilla. Her mom had been a librarian at Windsor Castle, and her dad restored art. So they were in that upper guild when it comes to-- They picked me up and they took me out to The Bicester, England, which is on the strawberry plane not too far from Stonehenge and those places. I rented one of those 17th century farm houses. I'll tell you this one story, but I won't dwell on it. The first morning, I slept for about a day because of the time change, and everything in a room I remember as so warm, because they had a coal burning stove in there, and it was really, really warm, but it didn't matter, because I was sleepy. The first morning I went down for breakfast and I slipped on a casual shirt and I think maybe a pair of khakis or something like that. I noticed Priscilla and Patrick were both-- she in her pearls and he in his tie and sweater. So I said, "Excuse me, just a minute." A real cultural lesson here. I went back to the room and put on a shirt and tie, kind of dressed up a little bit. Nothing was ever said, but that was what was understood to be. I spent a few days there with them. We went to a school play, and they introduced me. Very Anglican. They went to the parish church, there, in the village. Of course, I was Reverend Cash to everybody, and it was very revered in England and particularly in the small towns.

I spent a week there, and that was the first time I'd been to England, and had just a wonderful experience. Again, the opportunity to meet people and to experience new things in life probably never would have been possible if I'd stayed at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. I'm sure it would have been fun, but. I took the train and then took a hovercraft across the English Channel. I got on a train and went down through Paris. It was an overnight train ride. I remember I was in a small compartment car and one of the individuals had a large German shepherd that howled and probably hadn't had a bath in a while. I never will forget that.

But I got down to Tulane. I'd never been in France before. I stood there on the pier. Getting from the train station to the pier in Tulane-- the French can be very interesting people. I don't know how much I paid in French francs, probably too much. But I got to the pier and I remember seeing the Nashville steaming into the port. Captain Muldoon was up on the bridge wing, and he saw me down there and we waved. I did a tour with the chaplain. I finished that deployment of about three months, went back across the Med. Got to stop in Spain. We went to Barcelona and I think we were down in-- A couple of other port visits, some things I'd never seen before, and we rode to Spain and finally washed down the ship, watched the Marines off and all their vehicles, and we headed back across and pulled back into Norfolk.

So literally, I had not spent but a few days in Virginia Beach or at Norfolk when we deployed. This is such a normal process that happens with Navy chaplains where you move your family to a place. The next day you deploy with the Marines onboard ship. A lot of the stories I remember chaplains sharing with one another are those types of stories. That can be difficult, it can be really difficult on the family, but at the same time, there's a sense of excitement that you're going out to do what God has called you to do. And you'll be on board a ship, or you're with a Marine battalion, and that was a special time.

The whole experience on the Nashville of course, its association with country music. During the period while I was in Nashville, we were invited up to the city by the mayor and the governor. We went into, we did Nashville Now, the television show. We were on most of the radio shows and local TV channels in Nashville. I went along with the commanding officer, the command master chief of the year, who, by the way, still is treated to two weeks in Nashville every year. We donated some things to the museum, there in Nashville, artifacts from the present ship. We were shown artifacts from the older ships, the net cruiser, which MacArthur rode during World War II, as well as the old Nashville. Met Minnesota Fats there at the Hermitage. Oh, gosh. We were on cloud nine. We were on one of the television shows and Captain Muldoon, who was not a big country music fan-- the host of the show said, "Well, Captain. We hear you're a big country music fan." His eyes got kind of big, and he said, "Who's your favorite star?" He could only remember one. That was Waylon Jennings. I remember him saying Waylon Jennings, and everybody clapped and everything. Some special times. All the stars would send signed pictures to put on the bulkheads around the mess decks. The second deployment I did, I'll tell you about it in a moment. Everybody felt very supported and special to the city of Nashville. We had a Nashville City Limit sign on our stack as you're coming off the flight deck. It's an LPD, so we had a well deck where we'd launch amphibious vehicles as well as a landing platform where we could take our Harriers, our Marine Harriers as well as 46s and 53 helicopters. For a young chaplain who was seeing things for the first time and getting those experiences, Nashville was a great time.

We deployed, my last time on the Nashville was right before the Gulf War began in 1989, I guess. I want to make sure I get my years right here, but I think we deployed in August. We went over, at that time, Liberia was really blowing up for the first time. This was Charles Taylor and Prince-- . Charles Taylor and Prince-- . They were fighting one another, two rebel factions. We were doing what was called a non-combative evacuation operation and we were carrying Marines. We carried the 26 mule at that time, I think it was. We went straight over. We launched a couple of ships. I got to go ashore into the American embassy there in Monrovia. A beautiful place right on the coast. Everything else in Monrovia was blown to pieces. Talk about bad experiences. I saw more carnage during that time than I ever experienced in my life. I saw some things I never thought I'd have to see. There was a church that one of the rebel factions had gone in and slaughtered about 400 people in a Lutheran church, and the remnants were still there when I was out with the Captain and some of the others, kind of surveying the area.

We were the beacon of hope in Monrovia. All the other embassies had been evacuated including the Soviet embassy, and by the way, the Americans, particularly the Naval service, the Marine Corps and the Navy, do the majority of these non-combative evacuations, which we call NEOs, and they're very good at it. Between that period of 1989 and say 1990, there were about 12 to 15 different NEOs. Some people were aware and some people were not. I experienced some ones later on when I deployed in the mid-'90s with a Marine unit. I was sure I was the only chaplain in the battle group, because the other ships had gone north. So here I was, a young lieutenant in my fresh starched khakis, for the first time really serving around Marines full time. I would go and do services at the embassy. We'd stay a day or two, go back and forth to the ship and provide ministry that way. We really grew close, to not only the sailors, but of course the Marines ashore. That was a real eye opening experience for me. I think the reality of military chaplaincy hit home at that time. It wasn't just bunting and ceremonies and pull into exotic ports. It was the reality of war and the reality of what mankind can do to one another. So that was a shaping moment in my life.

Zarbock: What sort of demands were placed upon you by the Marines and the Navy?

Cash: Well, for the first time, I had to be in full combat gear including flak, even inside the embassy, because individuals would still be shooting, inside the embassy. There was really no running water. There was a swimming pool where you could take a shower. The rigors of life in the fields of combat type environment came home to me for the first time. Other than doing the normal counseling and encouragement to the soldiers-- the Marines. Excuse me, not soldiers at that time--I'm so used to saying soldiers in this new age-- but sailors and Marines, of helping them, comfort and counseling and doing services. We were there-- Right before Christmas, we left. I can't remember the exact date we left. But I was going back and forth with helicopter squadrons, up to Freetown, Sierra Leone. There was a unit out of Sigonella on Sicily that was providing all the helicopter support, a Navy unit was providing that. The Marines had their own, but they were providing some other helicopter support, so flying them to Freetown. At that time, Freetown, of course, later on in the'90s, Sierra Leone blew up and we had to do a NEO there, an evacuation around the 1997 timeframe. So during this period here I was, a young chaplain, fresh off the boat, so to speak, providing ministry in really what was a combat environment. We were driving around with certain units in the city of Monrovia, which was like a wild west town. So ministry took on a new meaning for me at that time. I hesitate to say this but it became serious to me then.

Prior, I was doing all the things. I think I was doing some great things, but I think I was living under the illusion that this is all there is; the pomp and circumstance and the ceremonies, mounting all those things, and going into Monrovia in 1989 was a real eye opener. It might have been '90 that I deployed, because I got back-- I'm going to get ahead of myself-- in May of 1991 on the Nashville. That's right after the Gulf so it would've been the fall of 1990 that I deployed instead of '89.

I was in Nashville. We were doing the television shows in 1989. But in 1990 is when I deployed. We spent, I want to say we were away for 10 months at that time. We went into Liberia in August of 1990, we deployed, after the transit across, we went into Liberia and then, right before Christmas, we went up the west coast of Africa and we stopped in Dakar, Senegal for Christmas.

I won't forget that because it was really another unique place. There wasn't all the warfare but, it's central Africa, western Africa. We spent Christmas there, and got the guys off the ship to go to-- There was a Catholic cathedral that people went to. There were a couple of other services. As well at that time, Senegal was a very Muslim country, and not many people knew much about Islam at that time. It was eye-opening to me, and for the first time, I saw not only a different faith group within Christianity, but a different religion. I experienced Islam in Dakar for the first time. We went to Roda, filled up with gas and went out onto the Mediterranean. We went over onto the eastern Med and what the muse did at that time and they're kind of getting back to doing today, is there would be a ready muse in the MED or the Marine Expeditionary Unit, which we're talking about probably 2000 Marines, which is made up of the command element, a battalion landing team which is normally a battalion out of Camp Lejeune at that time on the east coast.

Then you had an air combat element. There would be a helicopter squadron of Marines on board the Nashville. So we would form together into what was called, at that time, a Marine Amphibious Readiness Group. So you would have a big decked ship like the Nassau, or you would have an LHA or an LPH, I think what it was called, the old Iwo Jima Class, and then an LPD, and then an LSD, which is another type of amphibious ship. So we would kind of travel together, and then we would split up. We split up for Liberia. Some went into the Med. Some went into other hotspots. This was the time Desert Shield was going on, at that point.

We were steaming across the Med toward the Gulf, really. It was about 2300, 11 PM at night, and I remember going up past radio and hear a, "The war has begun," for the first time, and that was when we went into Kuwait and Bush started the assault on Kuwait. And of course, Saddam Hussein in Iraq. When you talk about remembering where you were at specific times and dates, I never will forget. We were somewhere in the Mediterranean when we heard that, and none of us knew what it meant that time. No one aboard the ship. We were kind of post-Vietnam era. I remember Vietnam very well, because my last year of high school was around '73, so it was still going on. I went off to college and some guys went off to the Marine Corps or Navy. So I remember that night very, very well and these sailors, it was incredible the transformation that took place in that one moment, from people grapping about the chow and being away from home, until men saying, "You know, we're at war." Even though we know in comparison to war and other conflicts that it's been that the first Gulf War was short, decisive and we got out and came home. It was still a war, and I saw what it did to the men at that time, and another shaky moment in my ministry as a chaplain. Seeing people serious for the first time about their lives and life and death issues-- Even though we were in the safety of a Naval warship floating in the middle of the Mediterranean, there was still the same urgency.

So we made our way on across and helped support-- Actually, we were off Israel for most of the time, went down to the Gulf, just various places. The amphibious ships at that point, you had Marines going up to the desert, soldiers going up into the desert toward Kuwait. All the amphibious ships that were in the Gulf were kind of a diversion if you remember the history there, and they were almost faking landings in order to keep the folks off guard. So I was part of that amphibious force that did that type of thing. We came back in May of '91. On our way back, we stopped in Sicily a couple of times. We went through Roda, and I think we came back in May of that year, from what I recall.

Other experiences on the Nashville, if I could, very briefly. You're talking about difficult experiences. I'll never forget the day I was sitting in my stateroom. I was on the deck above the mess decks. I guess we were on, I was on the 01 level. That was the chaplain's stateroom on the Nashville.

I went back years later and got to see it. In fact, I just visited the ship when in came into Boston. Still in commission, the Nashville is. She was built in 1970 and they were supposed to decommission her in the late-1990s or middle-1990s but with everything that's happening-- Amphibious ships are the workhorses of the Navy. They carry Marines, they can do any-- Very, very versatile. There's a new class of LPD called the San Antonio Class, LPD17.

Zarbock: LPD stands for?

Cash: Landing Platform Dock. LHA -- Landing helicopter, those types of things. All these amphibious ships, whether you're LSD or LPD or an LHA; now we have LHDs which is the newer classes or the newest class. It had the characteristics of being able to land Marines, sea power ashore, or get the Marines ashore and then the capability of supporting them. The Nashville, at one time, could probably get six CH46 Marine helicopters or three of the big 53 helicopters or the Harriers. So she had a flight deck on the back that I used to run on and kill my knees. I kind of lost my train of thought. Anyway, we came back and that was in 1991. I lost my train of thought. I was talking about the ships and the Nashville, but I was going somewhere with that experience.

There were two, and this is kind of normal human behavior, whether it's in the military or in the civilian world. You can find four to five hundred people when we had Marines on board, over thirteen or fourteen hundred people on a small platform like the Nashville. You're bound to have some disagreements, and it was also funny to watch sometimes the sailors and the Marines in the chow line, pumping their chests and you see trays flying across. Normal type things. The master-at-arms would take care of it, but those were always challenges for the chaplain later on to council the Marine or the sailor.

My stateroom was right above the mess deck, and one day, I heard someone screaming. I had my door open. I walked down there and there was blood everywhere. It looked like the whole mess deck-- I'm sure it wasn't. It appeared to me that the whole mess deck-- and one of our master-at-arms who was a first class petty officer, he was in another rating, but he served as a master-at-arms on the mess decks. He took a lot of abuse from sailors who would fuss at him and say, "This chow's crap," and normal sailor talk.

This one man had come up to him, like a young seaman, E3, and got right in his face and was just insulting him, which was kind of unusual, but a lot of frustrations. The first class petty officer takes out a pocket knife and puts about 18 holes in his back. He just lost it. He ran without any names or anything, but he ran up to the Captain's cabin because he and the Captain were very close and they talked because he helped the Captain with inspections and things like that. I still remember the blood on the door handle of the Captain's stateroom. We had to, I think we were doing some operations off of Virginia at that time, so we had to helo the young man off. He lived. I dealt with his family when they came down from New York. They were both African American. The family came down from New York, very gracious and appreciative of my work with their son and of my ministry there. I don't actually know whatever finally happened to the first class petty officer. I'm sure it wasn't something to his liking, but he was a great guy. I remember him like yesterday.

The other experience, and the other one I've had to face firsthand, was a suicide on the Nashville. It was another young man who was an OS-2. I still remember his name, but an OS-2, an operations specialist. He would come, he worked strange hours, so I always had my door open most of the time unless I went to sleep. He would come up the ladder from the mess deck and go right across in front of my stateroom, and I'd always say, "Hello, how you doing?" He was always talking. He would go up a couple more ladder wells to combat. I would sit in my stateroom and a couple days later, someone just came running down and said, "Someone's hurt themselves!" There's an office or a center up on one of the upper decks on an LPD, which is called the LFOC, which is a Landing Force Operations Center that the Marines use. When we did not have Marines underway, that was kind of a vacant space. This young man, for whatever reason-- we were able to glean some things later on-- went up, took a noose and hung himself. I burst in the space like everybody else was, and there he was. He was deceased.

Going through all the trauma of dealing with the crew. Anytime that happens with a small crew like that, we get the groups together and do some post counseling. Other people would say, "We think there's another suicide." All that comes in the aftermath of something like that. I did a funeral, did a lot with the family. Again, that was reality.

Zarbock: He was not buried at sea?

Cash: No, he was not buried at sea. He was buried there in Virginia Beach, actually in Norfolk. His wife and children lived in Norfolk. We know some of the reasons, maybe, there were telltale signs, but I would never have believed it. He didn't fit the profile that I would have thought at that time. And not only with dealing with that and the crew, but also with the family was another defining moment. I know pastors out in the civilian world and other health care professionals deal with this far more than I have, but the reality on a warship where you're a community there together, when this individual appeared to be absolutely normal, I won't forget that one. And the crew afterwards.

We did a memorial service on it. Memorial services for a Navy chaplain is an interesting thing. There are a lot of ceremonies in the Navy. We have our worship services in chapels. Obviously, that's something that we're committed to do, guaranteed by the Constitution and that's unique. That's why when I'm preaching on the pulpit, we have the service. We're Methodists and Presbyterians and Baptists together. We're certainly doing kind of a more general Protestant, what we used to call, service, which is a whole other story. The memorial service is kind of a military ceremony and it's kind of a funeral and it's kind of a remembrance. There are so many different types of memorial services. Onboard a ship, you've got a captive audience; you've got the crew. We went out on the flight deck of the Nashville and we did this memorial service. So what do you say? This individual, I don't remember if he ever came to church, but I was responsible. I'm the chaplain for him, regardless of whether he was Baptist or Catholic. It doesn't matter. So I tried to do a dignified service, and I think I accomplished that. But you've got the ceremony part of it with the gun salute, they do gun salutes, the marching on of colors. And there's all kind of.

Sometimes, chaplains have a problem and the lines get blurred between what's religious and what's secular, or what's military ceremony and those are the challenges we face. You could do a memorial service with a body. You could do one where the individual is clearly defined as a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim, where you would have a Catholic chaplain or a Protestant chaplain or a Muslim chaplain do a service. But there are those times when the individual had no-- and I guess pastors have done that with individuals out of funeral homes they didn't know. But it takes on a unique characteristic in the military. I think I've never shied away from them, and I think I've done a good job at them to the best of my abilities as a Baptist preacher. That's for the crew. That was for the crew. So we were able to hopefully bring a little closure to the crew at that time.

That was the Nashville. I got back in '91, glad to see the family, the longest time that I'd ever been separated from them. A lot of challenges had sprung up, and this was sort of the day before email. Today, you're almost in constant contact with your family. We had a Mariner's radio, which is the old shortwave that I remember talking to my father and my wife on in the Mediterranean. "Over, over." And that's the way, other than letters, so letters were very, very important at that time. I remember I had an old Commodore 64 computer in my office, which, that was the bomb at that point, and that was before the days of other supercomputers. It was different time in a different age and getting back, and I still kept all my letters from the family. It's kind of a history of who we are and they're very, very important to me.

That was a tough deployment, not only because of all that happened with the Gulf War, but just my own personal issues dealing with the separation from my family. Another growing experience. Another moment that shaped me and who I am today. Coming back off the Nashville, I saluted smartly and came down the brow. I gave everything I had on the Nashville. If I look back on it now, I've worked probably more hours, I've worked as many hours as anybody else.

There's old adages of chaplains in the warroom or the chaplain gets off at three o'clock in the afternoon and all those types of things, and they probably have been an experience. But I was determined that I would never-- I could be criticized for a lot of things, but it wasn't because I didn't care or it wasn't because I didn't put all my effort into it. Anything I could do to make life better for the crew I did. If that was reading the news on the closed circuit TV or sponsoring a Jeopardy tournament-- When you're in the way and you're doing Gator Squares, what they call Gator Squares, out in the middle of the ocean, where you're just going back and forth and back and forth for weeks and months at a time, it can get very dull and boring. So I would try to do as much as I could, of course, doing the services and Bible studies and different types of talks and lectures, but just trying to do things to make the sailors' lives a little bit better. The majority of chaplains over the years who I've talked to, and those who had been successful, what I would consider successful, had been those who were willing just to kind of go above and beyond that second mile and do everything they could to make life better.

So we got back from Nashville and I got to go out to Naval Air Station Oceana, which was in Virginia Beach. You go from working with gator sailors on an amphib, to the Airedales and the brown shoe Navy and all those folks. It was a wonderful tour out there. It was close to my home. I didn't have to drive into Norfolk everyday and fight the traffic and get to the ship. While I was on deployment that year, I'd gotten a letter from my wife actually saying that one of the senior chaplains on the Norfolk area called her and said that he thought I had orders to go to Adak, Alaska. Many people who go to Adak love Adak, but that's such a drastic change going from Norfolk to Adak. The way the chaplain did it at that time by letting my wife know before I knew, I had the time to explain to her that Adak is not all that bad. I got a pretty interesting letter from her saying "What's this? You've been gone for eight months, for nine months and now you're going to Alaska?" Some interesting times.

A series of events occurred. I didn't end up going to Adak. I ended up going to Oceana there in Virginia Beach. It all worked out, but those were a few tense moments writing letters back and forth to the wife, one of the human moments. Oceana was home to all of the F14s, the Tomcats on the east coast. All of the squadrons were there, and the A6s at that time, which are the two-seat bombers. I got to do some flying in both of those. A different world. I stepped off of an amphib into aviation world. It was just like night and day. It was different, not necessarily better or worse. It was just different. We were sort of in a chapel community there. All the chaplains were assigned to Oceana then farmed out to different commands around the base. So I got to continue to do some preaching which I love to do. I also got to experience some things, a lot of memorial services for aviators. Naval aviation -- and I'm not an expert on this; I don't know everything there is to know about it -- they have their share of accidents and unfortunately, when you're in an F14 that's twice the speed of sound, things can happen. I remember doing a lot of memorial services and dealing with a lot of grief for the families.

Zarbock: And they really aren't accidents. They're only fatalities.

Cash: They're fatalities, that's right. That's a great way to say it. I got close to a lot of people. In one month, three men from the same squadron went down in fatalities, as you say, out at Fallon, Nevada where they were training. I did a memorial service for a young lieutenant flier, and then about a month later, I did it for his XO, who was killed. So there are some good things in Oceana, but there are also some stressful times. Whether it was on the Nashville with the suicide or some of the other complexities and issues, you have to deal with at other commands.

Zarbock: What about absurdities in the military service?

Cash: Absurdities. Well, I think this is a prime example. It was at Oceana and it was a memorial service that I was just talking about. Emblems and mascots-- these are very important to military units as you know, and they have been, I guess, since man has gone to war. At one of the memorial services, one the-- one of the memorial services, it came from, I think it was BF-- I'll get this wrong. It was the 140 or 141, which was the A6 squadron. We were putting together a bulletin at the chapel for this service. Their nickname was the Blue Blasters. It's the picture, it's got a skull with a cigarette sticking out of its mouth and blue and red in the background. The XO comes over, well, not the XO, it was actually a service to the XO and says we want to put the Blue Blasters emblem on the front of the church bulletin.

Zarbock: The pronunciation, of course, is "blaster."

Cash: Blaster. Yes. Yes, we know what you do, but it appears to me that that might be inappropriate on the front of a church, a memorial bulletin not only for the chapel, but for the family that's looking at this skull on the front of the memorial bulletin. I remember debating that back and forth. In fact, my next door neighbor right now here in Newport was CO of the Blue Blasters, so I shared that story with him, and we've had a lot of interesting conversations. So we had a compromise which we try to do if we can as chaplains in the military. I said, "I won't put it on the front of the bulletin. I think that's maybe inappropriate. However, I will do an insert with that emblem down at the bottom in a very inconspicuous place with some writings about the Blue Blasters so it's not the first thing you see when you pick up the church bulletin." Some of the folks in the squadron were adamant. I wasn't going to put that on there. I said, "No. I want to honor our fallen shipmate, but at the same time, I have to, I want to respect the rights of the family and the dignity of this chapel." I said "I will not put it on there." "You will put it on there." "I won't put it on there. What are you going to do? Do you want me to put it on there?" Lively exchange, but in the end, we worked out a compromise. I think they appreciated me for standing my ground, and I don't think it was unreasonable. That was one of the small battles that sometimes you may not need to fight, because it may not be that important. But this one, for me, was very important. To maintain the integrity, dignity of the chapel and the memorial service itself, I didn't think we should do that. So that's one example.

Zarbock: This serves right into the other question I told you off-camera. In your military career, were you ever ordered, hinted at, a little nudge and a wink, to do something that you felt to be in violation of your religious beliefs or military standards?

Cash: I can honestly say, first, "No," to that question, that I want to explore it a little bit. There have been times when I've been uncomfortable, when I would have preferred to have done something another way than what I was ordered to do or asked to do or winked to do. Most of it involved the worship services itself. Follow me on this one. Most things I've been asked to do is be the tour's officer on the ship. Did I really want to be tour's officer? No, but as I said on the Nashville, I tried to do whatever I could to make life better, and that was fine. There had been times when the CO said, "You're going to baptize an infant." Because you may have an individual who is from a liturgical background, an Episcopal, a Lutheran. Some of my best friends and buddies in the whole world are Episcopal priests and Lutheran pastors. But you may have a CO who may have gone to church one time in his life, but he knows the importance of military ceremonies and he knows how visual representations, how important they are. So baptizing an infant in the ship's bill is something very important, a christening. There's all kinds of legends and different terms for these types of ceremonies and events. They're founded in folklore and in ship stories and sea stories going back for ages. So the CO says, "Seaman Jones just came and he wants to get his baby baptized." "Well, Captain, I can't do that. I'm a Baptist and we do not baptize infants." "What do you mean, you don't baptize infants? What in the world are you talking about? This is a naval tradition." I said, "Okay, Captain." What I can do? We can have a dedication ceremony for the infant. But for me to baptize an infant would have no meaning whatsoever. It's not a part of my tradition and it really goes against the doctrines of my church, of what we believe as Baptists. We encourage people, if they are of that faith group that does infant baptisms, to do it. I facilitate and I'll help. I'll do anything, but I can't actually do the ceremony." "What can you do?" "I can dedicate an infant. I can anoint them with oil. I can do a lot of different things, pray for the parents, pray for the infant." He said, "Would that be good enough?" I said, "Captain, it depends on what the individual wants."

This is another story about a wedding I did, and weddings are another thing that just have been such a fun thing and interesting thing. In fact, the destroyer squadron, DESRON 6 down in Charleston, he was from a Roman Catholic background, very faithful to his church and one of his staff Officers, a friend of mine, was getting married for the first time, and we did it out at one of the old plantations around Charleston, one that does a lot of weddings. I did more of a contemporary service. We didn't wear sandals and braids in our hair and all those things, but the language was modern. They read their vows to one another which they'd written, which is normal in a Baptist circle or whatever. Afterwards, the CO came up to me, a commodore, and said, "Is that legal?" I said, "Is what legal?" He said, "Well, you didn't say, 'Do you take this man and do you take this woman?' And you didn't do this, and you didn't do that." I said, "That's not part of my tradition." "Okay. Is it legal?"

Those types of things and on and on. The ship's bell incidences with Captains, but getting back to the worship service-- I said those are the other things that sometimes is more out of ignorance than it is out of anyone wanting to dominate or command and make you do something that you don't want to do. It's just rather really feelf and they're so wrapped up in their command, they love so much the life at sea and Naval history and Naval tradition, and when you start talking about baptizing a baby in the ship's build, that's just apple pie and that type of experience. They're very American and very Navy.

Some of the other issues related to how chaplains deal with one another and it goes back to Navy tradition where most of the early chaplains were New Englanders, the influence of Boston and New York and Newport. The Captain of the Constitution would take his minister or whomever to be his chaplain, and most of the northeaster seaboard was very Anglican at the time. So it's not surprising to note that many of our early chaplains were either United Methodists or were Anglican or Episcopal. They were normally the most educated. We as Baptists were going through a time of what is education. Education ruins a preacher. It was natural even though Harvard, of course, was started as a Baptist seminary. We know that, and Baptist preachers went there and on and on with Congregationalists. Education was kind of suspect during that period, and the Navy Chapel Corps was being founded. So the fact that traditions came over from the Royal Navy, not only ship traditions but worship traditions with the priests wearing robes, reading prayers. If you think back into the 1850s, Naval regulations did not say that a chaplain shall say a prayer. It said chaplains shall read a prayer and the Episcopal prayer book was what was used. It was a Baptist, in 1850, one of the early Baptist chaplains, who said, "Wait a second. I thought I could do a service the way my church dictated and not what the Navy dictates." That was the early days of chaplains trying to struggle with the ideas of institutional ministry. So Naval regulations were changed the next year to read "Say prayers" instead of "Read prayers." That's just an early example of some of the tensions between Episcopals and Baptists and Catholics and Presbyterians in the same pot and stirred it, just the challenges.

As a result, let's get up to my time in the Navy. By the time, when I entered the Navy chaplaincy, there was still a strong tendency toward formal worship, and I believe that we, as Baptists, have formal worship. It's just different formal than others. There was always a tendency to put a double pulpit. In the Baptist church, you'll have a pulpit in the center and that shows God is central to our lives and the preaching is paramount. In more Anglican traditions, and the Episcopal and Roman Catholics, they've got the double pulpit, which, there is nothing wrong with it. It's just different. But you look at Navy chaplains and only those that have been built in the last 10 to 15 years may have a central pulpit, because we try to accommodate so many different people, and that's where the term "general Protestant" came in. During World War II, that was a natural thing to do, a Baptist preaching, or a Methodist or a Presbyterian alongside an Episcopal. It was necessary. It was not strange, it didn't feel strange to the people. I know it did, but I've read books, I've listened to lectures of people who served during that time, and I know that it felt very natural for them. But by the 1980s, America had changed greatly. We went through the Jesus movement, when people were worshipping on the streets or part of the almost psychedelic generation, and the Jesus people were out there. The universality of the church, all the influx of new religions and faith groups was a different time. I think as a Chaplain Corps, even in the early 1980s, late 1970s, we were still dealing with the pre-World War II mentality, where we were much more -- you have to help me remember the word -- not homogenous, but we were all sort of the same, we were--

Zarbock: Yeah, homogenous.

Cash: Yes, homogenous.

Zarbock: Heterogeneous and homogenous. You were homogenous.

Cash: It took the Chaplain Corps a little while, as it did the churches. You still had churches doing traditional services on Sunday morning when the young people wanted guitars and contemporary services. Tradition dies hard, and I don't think our chaplain Corps at that point realized, even though we were doing Naval training and chaplain training, we were bringing the groups in to do the seminars. The CREDO program was created during the early '70s, which was initially, a response to drug use in the Navy. So we were creating all these things. But we did not change fast enough, and what happened, really, there became a real void between the traditional, the contemporary, and how the chaplains fit in. To make a long story short, you had Baptists who were sometimes feeling like they had to wear a robe in a service, or there was no baptismal pool which I talk about in my church. They had a fount. Why didn't they have a baptismal pool? Well, that's not the way they did it then. It was more along the Episcopal or Anglican rites, and this is not a criticism, it's just reality.

So now, you'll see crude baptismal pools in some of our new chapels that look like coffins. You just lay down and baptize a person. And some they've built into the floors and into the decks and whatever. We've come a long way since the early '80s, and we've had to suffer through some things, and part of that is some of the litigation that's gone against the Navy Chaplain Corps, which you probably are aware of. I know that some of the issues are related just to that. We're a human institution and we're going to-- If I look at the Southern Baptist Convention right now and a lot of the politics that go on, don't preach to me about the Chaplain Corps or the Roman Catholic Church or anybody else. There's a lot of politics. At the same time, we were slow in adjusting to the fact that every chaplain can worship according to the traditions and forms and matters of their own church. That's been the struggle. We're a lot closer in 2007 than we were in 1981.

Zarbock: And that leads me to my final question.

Cash: Yes, Sir.

Zarbock: Your whole life experiences that put you together as what you are right now. What are you right now?

Cash: What I think of myself, the word that immediately comes to mind is chaplain. You know I'm a Navy Captain. I'm very proud of that. I worked hard to get where I've gotten today. I never believed that I would have the opportunity to be the director, now a commanding officer which is a new concept for chaplains but the right one. I never believed that I would have this opportunity as a young lieutenant, going into DESRON 6. Those folks at the Chaplain School were larger than life and you held them in a certain reverence. So I look back and the opportunity to go to England and do the personnel exchange program which I didn't talk a lot about, but what a great opportunity. I was serving two years with the Royal Navy and I think back and I'm just so grateful. But no matter what my rank is and what my experiences of life had been, and later on serving with the Marines and seeing some really incredible things in Albania and down in the Congo and most recently Afghanistan-- Being in Afghanistan kind of brought, helped me to refocus my life. I had been in the Chief of Chaplains office for three years as the executive assistant to the chief of chaplains, which is another revered position. Here I was, a young lieutenant, to think that I would be director of the Chaplain School and then to go and be executive assistant to the chief of chaplains, deputy chaplain in the Marine Corps. Oh, wow! That sounds really great, which means you got to sit across from the commandant and watch him staring at you. A humbling experience. I left the chief's office. I knew I was coming back up here to be the director of the school. When Chaplain [inaudible] asked me-- he was the chief of chaplains at the time-- he knew I was leaving the chief's office, and I told him about staying there for a few years. I didn't want to stay too long in Washington even though I loved a lot of things about it. He said, "What is the one thing you want to do? Do you want to go be Marine Forces Pacific chaplain or do you want to go be Atlantic Fleet chaplain? Do you want to be something, one of those jobs that we used to revere?" I said, "No."

The one thing that I want to do is go back to the Chaplain School. That's where my heart really is, the training of young chaplains, the opportunity to teach and to mentor and to mold just like I was. It's not just about your teaching ability or just about your administrative ability. You've got to have a real heart and passion for ministry. You've got to have a real heart and passion for the men and women who are coming through here. They'll see through you right away if you, it's just a job for me. I'm the director of the Chaplain School. So when he asked me that, without hesitation, I said, "I want to go back to the Chaplain School." So I've been back two years now and I've had my challenges. Sometimes it's hard to be a Navy Captain and a chaplain because there are certain expectations on this side of the collar, certain expectations on that side. I think most of the time I do them pretty well. I'm certain there are some times that I've probably literally blown it. But while I was on the way back up here, the opportunity came for someone to go to Afghanistan. We had been taking chaplains out of hide. We've been taking them out of training commands and out of shore stations and sending them into Iraq and Afghanistan. But going to Afghanistan, to make a long story short, yes, I saw some really interesting things and some things I wish I hadn't seen. But it brought me back to the heart of ministry. Here I was, actually preaching again in a chapel in Kabul, to soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines. I had the responsibilities for all the chaplains in Afghanistan-- Army, Air Force and Navy, and I had to be on the road, so to speak, and fly into different places around Afghanistan-- mentoring and encouraging the chaplains who were there serving in the dirt every day. I got to sleep in a renovated Russian condo which had no heat, and there wasn't much in there but I had a roof over my head so I was pretty fortunate. Once again, I had to council young soldiers and sailors and Marines, and I was preaching on Sunday and the urgency of the situation, worship was very dynamic. You had people coming back in and really wanting to be there on Sunday morning. Or when we were down at a guard area on Christmas Day and going to a service there; people were there because they wanted to be there. They felt a need to be there. It all came back together for me. So when I think of who I am today, I'm still the same chaplain I was in 1981, when I was commissioned in 1981. That hasn't changed. I've seen a lot of things. I've been to a lot of places. But I still know the reason I'm here and who I am.

Zarbock: Thank you.

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