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Title:
Interview with Gary W. Clore, September 19, 2007
Date:
September 19, 2007
Description:
Interview with Commander Gary Clore, chaplain.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Clore, Gary Interviewer:  Zarbock, Paul Date of Interview:  9/19/2007 Series:  Military Chaplains Length  40 minutes

 

Zarbock: Good afternoon. My name is Paul Zarbock. I'm a staff person with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington's Randall Library. Today is the 19th of September in the year 2007, and we're at Camp Lejeune. This video tape is part of the Military Chaplain's Oral History Project, and our interviewee today is Commander Clore.

Clore: Correct.

Zarbock: Good afternoon, sir. How are you?

Clore: Doing great. Good afternoon to you, sir.

Zarbock: Transcriber, please don't transcribe this, but for the purpose of-- just before we went on camera, I asked the Commander how to pronounce his name and he told me and said, "It's like Clorox, only don't add the ox." So I thought I did rather well pronouncing his name. What individual, Commander, what individual or series of individuals, or event or series of events, led you into selecting the ministry as your profession?

Clore: There were a trend of circumstances that included individuals and just time and place. I grew up in a small town called Huntington, Indiana, so that makes me a Hoosier. I claim that, although I wasn't born in Indiana, but I grew up there. Good place to grow up and live. As fate would have it, in my little town of Huntington, Indiana, not being a religious person, not being a church attender, but there came a point in my life where I did attend a church maybe not for the best reasons. As a teenager, healthy teenager, there were girls at this church in my neighborhood, and me and a good friend thought that was a good enough reason to go to church. As time went on we learned that there were more good things at the church besides pretty girls, and we actually learned a lot, me, particularly, because that's who we're talking about. I learned a lot about God, about the church, the purpose of the church. And I was very curious and inquisitive. It's kind of my nature, always has been. That became an important time of my life because as I became more aware of God and Christ, religious values, and I saw it in the lives of the people at that church.

Zarbock: How old were you then, sir?

Clore: I was about 15, ready to turn 16. So I was 16 when I really, what I would say, has had kind of a transformational experience in my personal life which was coming to faith, coming to faith in Jesus Christ. You know, I don't just accept things easily. I ask a lot of questions. And I remember talking to numerous people that I think had influence on my life. One of them was the pastor of the church, because I'd see him up there with a certain amount of conviction in what he believed. I didn't see how somebody could be up there preaching as he did, communicating so passionately and effectively unless he really believed what he was saying. So, of course, that captured my heart and mind and caused me to pursue a lot of questions and find out what that's all about.

So I talked with the pastor, and he always had good answers for me. I had tough questions for him. Sometimes I challenged him because I saw the inconsistencies of the church. For example, the church would say it was wrong to dance, and I would say, "Well, I don't see the big deal and I, you know, I don't know if I could become a Christian if I can't go to the school dances." I mean, you can't be in high school and not go the prom or, you know, some of these events. And then he would get into his tactful, diplomatic discussions with me which were to say, you know, you shouldn't throw out matters of faith over these kind of issues.

So we had good discussions and, you know, I made some conclusions based on that. Now, I remember not only my pastor having an influence upon me, but there was another person which was-- happened to be a Sunday school teacher. And I remember him asking me, after attending quite a while, he asked me if I had accepted Christ into my life. And I was taken aback by the question, you know, that he would ask me such a personal question. I said, "No, I haven't." He said, "Well, you know, on your time, I hope you will." Well, he was sincere and I accepted that sincerity. And it wasn't so invasive, you know, he didn't try to, you know, corner me too much and so I had more time to think about all that.

Now, I will admit that in the early days of attending the church I was kind of the backseat heckler. So when the hymns were sung I would change the words to fit my own purpose because I didn't really know what all this was about and so I was kind of making fun of it. For example, I remember them singing the song "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," and I would sing "leaning on the elastic arms." So, you know, a lot of people probably would look at my life and think, you know, as they knew me at that time, would think I would never be a person to take anything serious or to make a commitment, but that ended up not being the case. And as you may know, sometimes people listen more than you may think. Just you can't always tell by looking at their outward messages and what's going on because they may be internalizing a lot more than you're aware of, which was definitely my case. Well, back to the Sunday school teacher. And I don't know if I should mention any names. I don't know if I should do that.

Zarbock: If so, it's going to be worldwide.

Clore: Yeah. He's actually deceased now, so, but I remember Paul Ball, who was a recovering alcoholic.

Zarbock: Ball as in B-a-l-l?

Clore: B-a-l-l, Paul Ball, yeah, unique name. But Paul was an alcoholic so, you know, while some people may not want to listen to a person like that I was very receptive of what he had to say to me because of his personal testimony. And I remember him telling me about how he came to faith. He was in a bar and someone cared enough to come down there where he was and talk to him and care for him in a place that would be considered kind of worldly, a place maybe where Christians don't go or maybe some would say they shouldn't go. Yet I would say Christ went among the people. So I learned some things from him and they challenged me. And as I saw the life of Paul Ball I saw an authenticity and a genuine spirit that was important for me. It gets to the point where I can just say my questions were answered. And it's not that anybody cornered me except that I knew myself intellectually and emotionally, and I was to the point where I knew I could keep raising objections of, "Why not to make a commitment of faith to Christ?" but I knew it was coming to the point where I said, "Why not?" and "Yes, I should." And I have nothing to lose with this. And I made that commitment. And when I made that commitment, it was very real.

Zarbock: You made the commitment how?

Clore: Well, I made the commitment-- this was in a church where they like to see public testimony of some kind, you know, they-- it wasn't required. I mean, you could make a commitment privately which I think it was made privately, but they like to have altar calls and invite people forward, and where then maybe they can receive counsel from the mature people in the church. And as they make that commitment, it becomes known then they have resources that will help them to, as they would call it back then and there, to do disciple-ing, to help people in their spiritual formation. And I had that kind of mentoring and discipleship as a young man. So that, basically, is what led me to faith in Christ. Now, I'm not sure. I may need to be reminded of the question again.

Zarbock: Well, how did you get in, briefly, how did you get in the ministry?

Clore: Right. All right, so I'm still on track, but that's part one. I think the next part came with my involvement and my discipleship as a young Christian where I got involved in the church. Now, I'm the kind of person, when I make a commitment, it's 100 percent. So when the church doors were open and there was something of interest to me, I was there. So I was there Sunday morning for worship, for Sunday school, for-- they would have evening worship and a midweek service and I went. They had a youth group. I got highly involved in the youth group, and I rose to leadership in the youth group just it seemed like overnight. Of course, it was weeks and months., Sure it wasn't too many months and they had me-- it got to the point where I'm leading the whole youth group.

And my leadership-- however one gets those leadership skills. I was in the Boy Scouts, and when I then made this transition to church life Boy Scouts kind of lost its meaning and purpose for me, because this had meaning and purpose for me. I don't know that I really laid down everything to do with the Boy Scouts, but my heart wasn't in that as much as it was in the life of the church, because I saw the life of the church having eternal significance and significance in the here and now, the relevancy of my personal life.

As I got involved in the leadership of the church, I had a lot of affirmation about my abilities and skills to the point where I even got angry at people, you know, they would make comments like, "You know, you really should consider going into the ministry or, you know, you could be a preacher, or." I remember doing a devotional for a Sunday night service and, you know, a lot of the elder people were just praising me to the point where I took it with a grain of salt, but I thought, you know, enough's enough. I, you know, and I would kind of brush it off.

Zarbock: You were a teenager at the time?

Clore: I was a teenager at the time and I brushed it off, you know. I didn't want to hear those comments. It was like I'm not a, you know, I wasn't thinking, "Yeah," you know, "No, not me." And, you know, and you could say I suppose it was those people that planted the seed. You could say it was the spirit of God that planted the seed, the affirmation of a lot of people. You could say it was just my own gifts and abilities that became recognized, and because of my position and places that I started to assume as a young Christian. All together, I would say it's all together the trend of circumstances that make you aware that God's blessing is on your life.

And I did have to come to the point where I answered that question too, which I never anticipated, which is, "What am I going to do with my life?" I thought I was going to be an engineer up to this point, and I was pretty happy with that destination. And I came to the point where I was challenged by all of this. And I do think the spirit was working internally with me. And I had to come up with then, "Golly, you know, I think I do have skills for ministry," and as a young man, as a teenager I was very much aware that God was calling me to serve as a minister. And that became another commitment that followed my Christian commitment was the commitment to serve God.

And I remember very early in my life, there was this Christian hymn I liked a lot, because I accepted it and I personalized it, but was-- some of the words said, "I'll go wherever you want me to go, dear Lord." And I made that commitment. I'll do whatever you want me to do. I'll go wherever you want me to go. I made that commitment.

That was a challenge because, you know, I never stopped liking girls but, you know, as I would test out some of these ideas, you know, they didn't react positively to them, but I dealt with that and said "That's okay," because this is what I know I need to do with my life, so.

So I made a commitment to serve God, and to go into the ministry. So even before I graduated from high school, and I think I was in my senior year, about age 16, it was that fall, and I really had even determined at that point I was going to go into Christian ministry instead of being an engineer, and that was my pursuit. So I started planning for college, and there was a college in my hometown.

Zarbock: What was the parental attitude towards your designated career path?

Clore: Well, interesting that you ask that because when I became a Christian, being as committed as I was, I early on got some opposition from my family. I remember very clearly my dad meeting me on the front porch on a, one of those hot Sunday evenings after I came home from church and he said, "I think you're spending too much time up there at that church." And I said, "Well, I don't think so." And I said to him, it was somewhat confrontational but I said, "You know, Dad, I think it would-- if you're so concerned about it, why don't you and all of us go to church as a family, and then we'll be together more?" And I remember my dad's reaction was, he says, "Ah, they're just a bunch of hypocrites up at that church." And, I don't know, I've always had a little bit of spunk. I think I got it honestly, because I think I got it from him. So he probably got to see himself a little bit in me, but I stood up to him, and I said, "I think you're hiding behind people that you think are hypocrites." I said, "I think that's an excuse." I said, "If you met some of the people up there at that church that I've met, I think you might like them and you'd find out that they're not hypocrites." So I said, "Of course, Preacher Dick," that's what we called him. I said, "If you'd talk to the preacher, I don't think he's a hypocrite. I think he's very honest and passionate." And I said, "If you met Paul Ball I think you'd like him," and of course I told him the story about how God had helped him with his problem of alcohol, and because of his relationship with Christ it had transformed his life, and I don't see anything hypocritical about that.

That's pretty genuine for a person to just tell you, straight up, that they have a problem with alcohol, and it's only because of their faith in the Lord that they are able to get victory over that. Long story short, is not too many times I saw emotion from my dad, but I thought I saw him get a little choked up in that little discussion we had. And I remember him very clearly at the end of that discussion saying, "You're right, we need to go to church as a family," and we did. We started going to church as a family. And from there on it was really everyone in the family then becoming clearly Christian and clearly walking the Christian life, together, which was pretty exciting. So it's exciting even to this day to look back on that and to see how some of that has happened and transformed our whole family, so.

Zarbock: Well, let's get you into college. Where did you go?

Clore: I went to Huntington University. Back then it was called Huntington College, but they've grown and entered into another world to university status, but Huntington University back in Huntington, Indiana.

Zarbock: And graduated what year?

Clore: I graduated in 1977.

Zarbock: Well, thank you very much for attending our college for four years. You are now a graduate. What is it you're going to do?

Clore: Well, I went to seminary immediately after that. You know, I was basically a kid preacher, so I went immediately from college to seminary. They had a seminary there because this was a Christian university, and they had a seminary there.

Zarbock: So you went to college in your hometown.

Clore: Yes.

Zarbock: You went to seminary in your hometown.

Clore: Yes I did.

Zarbock: Okay, that's...

Clore: It was all hometown up to that point. And I was in, see I completed my first year of seminary and I'm going an internship at a Church out in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, quite a long ways away.

Zarbock: I'm sorry Lake what?

Clore: Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Zarbock: How do you spell that, Chaplain, do you remember?

Clore: Lake Havasu City?

Zarbock: Yeah.

Clore: Havasu is H-a-v-a-s-u, I believe, Havasu City.

Zarbock: And city is city.

Clore: Yeah, it's a town right on the Colorado River right, you know, right across the river is California.

Zarbock: Did you pick it or were you assigned?

Clore: I was assigned.

Zarbock: What was the size of the congregation?

Clore: Maybe 250 to 300 and-- to 300 people attending.

Zarbock: So you were an intern.

Clore: Yes.

Zarbock: You were not in charge of the whole...

Clore: I was not in charge of the whole congregation. The internship followed a pretty nice pattern kind of modeled after student teaching, but three phases where first you observe, and then after that phase you participate in ministry, and then finally you perform. So the final part of the internship is your performance, and then you're graded on all that. So that was a great experience. And while I'm out there in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, I get a call from the bishop, well actually the superintendent that works for the bishop. and he said, "Would you consider taking a church close to Decatur, Indiana?" I said, "Well, I'm not out of seminary yet." He said, "Well, it's just a student pastorate, if you'd be willing to accept it, you know, it's just part time and we need some help there to provide pastoral coverage for this small rural congregation." So I said, "Well, all right, let me think about that." Got back with him and I accepted that position.

So it was kind of a nice little laboratory while I was continuing my seminary experience. So I, you know, and I was only-- I was 21 when the offer came. I think I was 22 when I got there. I just turned 22, so, pretty young, and of course that has some stories of its own, so. Of being so young and tackling, you know, some older people who have known the Bible all of their lives and then there's this young kid preacher comes in there and is going to teach the Bible, or preach the Bible.

And so I met my first challenges, some of my first excitement. I remember the first Sunday I got to the church, my first big decision was the trustees came to this kid preacher and asked, they said, "Pastor, we've got a chance to buy some property up here. We don't have a parsonage and we're thinking, boy, this would make a good land for a future parsonage, and do we have your permission to go buy it?" And I said, "Well, you know, so you want just my permission or do we need to have a meeting of other people who have authority to make this decision?" They said, "Well, between-- if you approve it and the trustees approve it, then we can purchase it." I said, "Okay, let's do it." So that was my first decision.So anyway, it's been like that and it's been fun. So that was one of my first decisions I made in pastoral ministry.

I remember my first confrontation with the oldest guy of the church, and he prayed very eloquently. I'm sure he was very practiced in his prayers, and they probably started to all sound alike if you'd been around him a long time, but a great man. I appreciate him, but we had a confrontation, and...

Zarbock: Over what issue?

Clore: Over what issue? It was the issue about whether or not a Christian can be perfect or not. Can a Christian-- and he believed in the idea of Christian perfection, and I didn't believe that. I believed that Christians probably aren't going to be perfect until they get to heaven. And, you know, I think in faith, and as we are forgiven, and in the sight of God, you know, God may forgive us, totally. Any perfection we have is only because of our relationship with God, with Christ our Lord, who forgives us of all our sins. But he believed that after you did that, you could be so mature, and that you would never again commit any sin.I'm just this young preacher, and I just know enough of the Bible to disturb people, but I started quoting 1John 1:7. I says, "But sir, there's this passage of scripture that says, 'If anyone says that he has no sin he deceives himself and the truth is not in him.' And what do you have to say to this verse of scripture, sir?" And he got very angry.

And, well, I didn't win his friendship, and maybe I embarrassed him too much, but actually I think I became the champion of a lot of people because he was kind of bully in the church, up to that point. And so there was a parting and he ended up leaving the church. It wasn't with the-- wasn't with some problems, but that was a good eye opening experience for me to see about church life and some of the conflict that can come. And there is conflict, you know, because wherever you have people sometimes people don't see things eye to eye and they haven't maybe learned how to overlook difference and build tolerance and see how they can coexist and appreciate differences rather than split ways over them. So it was-- it was a great baptism of experience for me to see in real life right from the start what ministry can hold.

Zarbock: Well, why did a young man like you with a seemingly glowing career, how did you get into in the military chaplaincy and why?

Clore: You know, well, that's a good question, and I have an answer for that. I went-- I continued on pastoral ministry, and I really, I loved it, I loved it, but I seem to be the kind of personality that always needs another challenge, you know. I've got to have another challenge. And I don't know what it is about my personality, you know, I'll just blame God because I get-- I can get bored if I don't have enough challenge. And I, after pastoring, you know, I started off very young, but by the time I got to age 30 I was working on my doctoral degree and I completed all my doctoral courses before I ever got into the chaplaincy. And the church was going real well.

By this time I'm, before I get in to the chaplaincy I'm on, I guess, my third church, and I've been at this church for, I think I've been in there about eight years. We sold the building and moved to a new location, built another building and the church was growing and doing very well. But then I'm kind of bored and I need another challenge, and I'm praying about it, you know, Lord, what's it going to be?

And I get a postcard in the mail from the Army and the-- so that's kind of how this pursuit started. And I thought, "Wow, yeah, being a chaplain in the military," and of course my-- I have some military background. My dad was in the Air Force and I've always thought very highly of my relatives who have served in the military, and I thought, "Wow that would be an exciting place to serve God is to serve military people. And after all look at all my family who have been there and done that."

And my dad always discouraged me from military service since he was doing that, you know, he's-- he always wanted me to go to college and have a better life. Well, I did that, but I think there was something deep within me that still had a passion for military people even as I remember my dad being in uniform and having a photo opportunity with my uncle who was in the Marine Corps. And I remember both of them standing in the front lawn in their dress uniforms posing for this picture. And of course I've looked at that picture many times, and as I grew up learning about our country and our Constitution and everything about our young history and what's developed in this great land, of course, I have a lot of pride. And even as a Boy Scout you kind of build a little bit of that pre military type mentality that probably set me up for this as well, because I loved that organization, and I've always had a lot of pride, you know, respecting the flag because it's not the flag itself, it's what the flag represents, you know, our United States.

And so these things just are for me, understanding the trend of circumstances and where my life fits in them. Because I got that postcard in the mail, it's just a postcard but it touched something inside me and I had to follow that. So I called up the-- I called up the Army and said, "What about this? I'd like to know more." Of course they were very anxious to recruit me.

I was only about 32 at the time, and started filling out applications. But, you know, I got this thing in my mind that's like, "Well, you know, I probably should check out the other branches of service. I don't want to make a decision prematurely. The Army might be a good way to go, but maybe I should check out the Air Force. Maybe I should check out the Navy and the Marine Corps."

And of course, as I got more into my learning about the other branches of service, I learned that Navy chaplains also serve the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. The Air Force had a pretty long waiting list, so I didn't have patience for that, so I said, "Forget the Air Force." Army sounded okay but, you know, I loved being a pastor so much I didn't really want to leave the pastor, the job of being a pastor. I loved working with people and being a-- being a leader in the church. I loved the connectional system of the church, and so I didn't cherish the idea of leaving that. So I wanted to have the best of both worlds.

So I thought, well if I go into the reserves, I can be a reserve chaplain, and I'm on call, I know, you know, if they need me and there's a war, of course I would have to go. I knew that going into it, but I thought, "Well, hey, I can have-- I can have the best of both worlds. So that's kind of the way I approached it.

Now, of course I ended up in the Navy. I had a commission started with the Army and the Army it took them a whole year. The Navy, it took them about six months to get me in. And that was kind of a fun story too, because once I got into the Navy, you know, I'm already commissioned and about six months later then the Army says, "Reverend Clore, we've got your commission papers ready." And I said, "Well, thank you, but I'm already a commissioned officer in the Navy."

And so I hated to have to tell them that news, but I was kind of glad too, because I was very proud of being a Navy chaplain, and well, knowing I made the best decision for me. You know, and it came down to very practical issues. Do I want to go to a dust bowl campground every year for my annual training, or do I want to go to maybe either some little nicer locations that the Navy goes and the idea of being on a Navy ship, and if you really get excited about being in the camping scene the Marine Corp still has that opportunity too.

So I really felt like I had the best opportunities going with the Navy, and I'm very happy about that decision, so. I remember the turmoil I went through, because I wanted to make the best decision for my life in what I should do. And I remember talking to an Army chaplain about, you know, "What's God's will for my life?" And this Army Chaplain said, "Well, you realize you decide the will of God, don't you?" I said, "You know, I never thought of it that way." I said "I thought we just-- that God's will was out there and we just had to find out what it was." I never thought about the fact that God might trust me to make decisions that would actually become his will. But that was a moment of enlighten for me and I thought, "Yeah, I like that. I can help decide God's will. God trusts me enough to make some decisions for my life that God will honor and say, 'That's my will.'"

Zarbock: How long have you been a military chaplain?

Clore: I have been a military chaplain now for over 18 years. I'm in my 19th year of service.

Zarbock: Well, I told you this off camera. Reminisce a little bit. Tell me a couple of stories about happy, happy, and then give me a couple of stories about sad, sad, please.

Clore: Sure. Happy, happy, this really is an exciting ministry and, you know, it's full of challenges so, you know, every two or three years you get to go to a new assignment and start all over again. Every one of my tours of duty are different. My first tour of duty was with the Marines. It was with the Third Marine Aircraft Wing out on the West Coast. And I was the chaplain for about a dozen squadrons, about 11 F-18 squadrons, and a squadron of C-130s and a logistics group that supported all those squadrons. And on the fun side I think one of the high moments was getting to go for a backseat ride in an F-18. And, of course, I'll never forget some of the relationship type things I had with those Marines. They put a barf bag in my flight suit before I went up, you know, suggesting that I might need it and might not be able to hold-- you know, I-- and I was a little younger then, but I ate a barbeque sandwich before I went up. So I figure, well if it's going...

Zarbock: Proof positive.

Clore: I said, "Hey, if I'm going to-- if it's-- if something's going to come up I'll have something to come up," but I kept it down and did just great. We did all kinds of cool things in the air and that was one of the greatest days of my life, because that was shortly after that movie Top Gun came out and I loved that movie. And where I got to go on my flight was actually up in Fallon, Nevada and it's right where they filmed part of Top Gun where they buzzed at the tower, and this one officer was up there drinking coffee and he spilled it on himself as they buzzed at the tower. Of course, I don't think those things really happen in the Navy now. I don't know if they ever did, but. But I ate that stuff up. It was fun being with them. And, you know, in my-- actually, you know, the Marine aviators are really big on call signs so they...

Zarbock: On what?

Clore: Call signs. You know, if you're an aviator you get a call sign. And they gave me a call sign.

Zarbock: What does that mean?

Clore: Well, they-- so they might be-- of course they're all officers so it would be Lieutenant So and So or Captain So and So, Major, whatever their rank is, but they became known with a call sign which is simply a nickname.

Zarbock: Ah.

Clore: Yeah, so I can remember a lot of those call signs. Mine became Chaplain Ox because I introduce myself just like I did here today. I said, "My Name is Clore like Clorox Bleach, just leave off the Ox." Well, they remembered that and they used that against me. So that became my call sign, was Ox. And then some associated that with Clorox Bleach and then there were some who started calling me bleach. So that was-- that's a call sign. It's a nickname. And I think kind of the rule of thumb is, is that maybe you're not supposed to like that, that call sign. But that's what they'll give you which is kind of a, oh, it's kind of the band of brothers.

Zarbock: Yeah, it's almost a rite of passage.

Clore: It's the rite of passage.

Zarbock: A certificate of a rite of passage.

Clore: That's right.

Zarbock: You have gone through this and we're now going to nickname you.

Clore: That's exactly it, so. So I have all kinds of sea stories like anybody who has any time in the military, but happy moments, you know, doing weddings, doing ceremonies, changes of command. The longer you're in this organization, the smaller it gets. You know, I have people coming up to me different places I've been assigned and I've already forgotten their name, who they are, and they'll come up and say-- and they still remember me. I've had that happen since I've been here. And somebody called me and say, "I can't-- I saw you're assigned here," and, you know, so those are some of the happy moments, the relationships that you have established.

Zarbock: How about the sad ones?

Clore: Well, the sad ones. The sad ones are some of the tragedies that happened because we live a sacrificial life in a life of duty and sometimes people get hurt, injured, killed in the line of duty. When I-- the few times that I've gone to a home to support the person who's making the announcement of a death, those are hard moments. I remember the first one of those I ever did, and it was a senior chief that went with me and he froze. He was supposed to deliver the message. I'm the chaplain. I'm supposed to be there to kind of help pick up the broken pieces, and help people with their grief reaction. And the senior chief just froze, so I ended having to tell the bad news. And, of course, those are sad moments because you see people in the worst moment of shock and grief, but it's an important moment too, and it's a sacred moment to be there and help them in that time of serious need.

Zarbock: Well, again, off camera I was saying you got the bookend questions, funny things, sad things and stuff in the middle, the absurdity of life that exists in any, any large bureaucratic organization. I remember a chaplain telling me through a typographical error he and his wife and children just about the time they got their luggage unpacked on the East Coast were ordered to San Diego. Their furniture was in route when they discovered they got to San Diego and were told, "Oh, sorry it was a typographical error you're not supposed to be here, you're supposed to be back where you came from." So the furniture and goods went to San Diego passing them on the route. They had to go back to the East Coast. Well, you know, stuff like that. I don't-- it is not my intention to ask you to do something about indicting a particular individual but, I mean, administratively clumsy things do happen. Can you bring anything to mind that would be-- you'd like to recall?

Clore: Gosh, you know, really not much comes into my head at that moment about anything particularly clumsy. Clumsy, you know, I think there've been the, what I'd call the bloopers or, you know, like you're preaching or you're praying and you say the wrong word and you'd like to be able to reverse the tape on that and take it back because you're just totally embarrassed but, you know, all you can do is just move on smartly and pretend like that didn't-- that word or mistake didn't come out of your mouth.

Zarbock: Chaplain, I've asked everybody else whom I've interviewed. Has there ever been a situation in your military career when you were ordered, where it was broadly hinted or with a wink and a nudge it was suggested that you do something that you felt to be in violation of military regulations, your personal belief and ethic?

Clore: Yeah. Yeah, there was a definite time when something happened to me I was very uncomfortable with, which was, I was on my ship and the first CO I had wanted me to be in a duty section when we were in port, and I felt that was wrong. It felt like it hindered me and kept me from doing what was necessary for me to be an effective chaplain.

Zarbock: Sorry, Chaplain, we're going to ask for an interpretation. What do you mean by at duty section?

Clore: They're-- when you get into port they'll go into-- they have to divide the number of people up by the number of days it takes to cover a duty section. So, say it takes so many people to take care of the ship while everybody else is off on liberty. Liberty's another word for like free time to go out and tour the city or wherever it is that you're in port, which is important for the morale of the troops while-- because you're out to sea for so long that when you go to get into a port you need to have some time off the ship. The captain wanted me to be in a duty section, which hindered me because my responsibility, as I understood what the Navy regulations were and what the ideals of the Navy Chaplain Corps are, my best service is being out off the ship and doing community relations projects. We call them Comrels. So that's what I wanted to do.

Well, I just knew that we were about ready to have a change of command, and so I tried to look at the timing issue. I tried to approach the subject, but I wasn't getting anywhere with this commanding officer. So a new commanding officer was soon to come aboard, and when that happened I approached the issue with the new commanding officer, who was reluctant to accommodate my request, but when I explained exactly what it was, the new commanding officer kind of brushed me off, too.

But I didn't sleep very well that night and my soul was really troubled. So I went back the next day to the CO and I said, "Sir, I have to talk to you again." I said, "I didn't sleep all last night, and I-- it really bothers me because I feel like I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do. I need to be off the ship and doing community relations projects and doing things that really get our sailors involved in the community."

And the captain said-- and actually I even looked up regulations so I had regulations I was quoting. And my CO listened to me for sure that time because he changed his mind and he said, "Chaplain, I accept your request. You're taken out of the duty and your job is to do just as you said. Give me after action reports and go for it," so I did.

So from then on, I did community relations projects. We did great things, visited orphanages, taught English to other foreign nationals, and helped in teaching schools and doing some nice things. And they were all-- those were the things that got back home, the positive things were conveyed. So those are the things that I ended up-- he liked it so well I ended up writing newsletters to back home about all those good things we did as well. So, anyway, hope that helps with that question.

Zarbock: Here's something to be pondered. Unlike many aspects of civilian life one of the things that takes place in military life is that sword of Damocles that hangs over your head called, called as I remember it, your efficiency report. Now, there must be times in which conditions arise that individuals, in the military, look upward at that sword before they look straight ahead to make a decision. Have you had or heard of experiences like that, efficiency report being a club over somebody's head.

Clore: Are you talking about the command or are you talking about me, personally?

Zarbock: Either one.

Clore: Well, I see it more with the command than with me, personally. There are always tasks that people want you to do and you may not like it, and yeah, there are those kind of clubs over your head, where somebody needs something, and they need it right away and they task you to do it, and you just do your best to do it. So I think everybody's had that. But I think what comes more to my mind is, yes, there have been those efficiency challenges, and especially in the operational context. I see that more-- more so because you have to be battle-ready and commanders are in competition with other commanders, they're in competition with themselves or with the expectations of what their superiors want in their chain of command. And depending on how they approach leadership, you know, you have micromanagers and you have those who maybe don't have quite a tight as rein-- quite as tight of a rein as others. So you see all these different styles of leadership, and depending on what your own philosophy is and how you handle that that can be pleasant or unpleasant, so.

And I, as a chaplain, I've seen people under a lot of pressure and duress, especially when they get under the authority of a micromanager, and the micromanager is maybe the one, that battle lead or they're competing for to be the best ship in the battle group and there's a lot of pressure that goes all the way down, you know. They want a clean ship. They want everybody to meet all their proficiencies and that has to be across the board. Every person on that ship has to know what their job is and be excellent at it. So there is a lot of pressure, and I've seen that. The other thing that is-- puts pressure on people that I've had to deal with is, and this is the nature of the military, you may think-- you can be out to sea and think you're going to go to a mission here, and that changes at the snap of a finger because somebody higher up says, "Now you need to go somewhere else."

And it's really hard sometimes for a crew to adjust to a quick change where they didn't have a lot of time to adjust to it. Sometimes the grumbling, complaining will happen for a little while, but you know, you just try to help them out. There's sometimes where the commanding officer may just throw things on people. Of course, it's easy to also say that the stress that is encountered by the crew is part of their readiness. The fact that they have to face a certain amount of stress, that's real life too. So it puts the challenge on me because I'm the one that has to pick up the pieces.

Zarbock: Chaplain, who's your chaplain. When people keep dumping on you, eventually your plate gets pretty full, I assume. Never having been a chaplain, I speak liberally about what's happening to you, but I've had experiences in my life in which people came to me and I've given away chunks of myself and all of a sudden I don't have many chunks left to give away. So I'm trying to draw a somewhat distant parallel between my experience and your activity right now. So to whom have you gone? To whom do you go, or what would be the pathway that you would follow? Who chaplains the chaplain?

Clore: I don't refer to those people as my chaplain. I refer to those people that maybe care for me as a person, as mentors. And I have had many mentors over the course of life. Sometimes, those change. I still have some that I can call upon. It's like a good friend. I think it is, I think a good mentor is a type of friend, a friend that you can trust, pour out your soul and you know that they will keep it and guard it and it doesn't get broadcast, and they'll let you be authentic. Those kind of people are not always easy to come by, so you-- for me it's all about trust. Who do I trust? And I look for those people. I always look for those people. One of my-- one of my mentors passed away this last January, so that mentor's not there any more so that's kind of made a new challenge for me to find another mentor. Not that I have to replace that person, because nobody can replace that person. But, you know, life is a moving target, so what you may think is the target at this point in your life it will change and I think you have to be ready to also adjust your own life to say, "What was good then may not be good now." And looking down the road, you know, maybe God will put somebody else in my life that is the person I need to help me because some of your own growth and maturity can only go as far as the people that you, you know, you put around you.

Zarbock: That's right.

Clore: So I-- I'm looking for those people that I think can be a positive influence for me and be a good encouragement. So if they are leaders that you like and that you feel like you could follow and you can personalize and say, "I would like to be like that," that certainly is what I look for when I seek out a mentor.

Zarbock: A professor, whom I held in high reverence, oh, when I was a young man, once defined a mentor as someone who will tell you the dirty word. Now, of course, I don't mean vulgarity, but he will tell you the word that you really don't want to hear, which should have a marked advantage to you. Final question. Put together all of your coming of age, and your educational experience, and your military experience, and the fun and the frolic and the difficulties. What sort of credo do you have for yourself?

Clore: What sort of what?

Zarbock: Credo do you have for yourself.

Clore: Credo?

Zarbock: Yep.

Clore: Well, I look to Jesus Christ as my ultimate mentor. I know that may sound a little bit too religious, but I look at the life of Christ as being one of true authenticity, being real. Christ came to be with people. What Christ showed by his life and example is very important to me, so I am very much aware of the Navy's core values, honor, courage and commitment. I take on those values as part of my credo, but I never let that become more important than my Christian credo, which is what Christ taught, which is number one, to love God with all your heart, mind, strength, soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. Now, I choose to integrate my Christian core values, my Christian credo, into my Navy credo. Honor, courage and commitment can also blend in the concepts of love. Love isn't always mushy and gooey; sometimes it's tough. And so love, true love, can blend into these Navy core values. The Marine Corp has the same values, honor, courage and commitment. To have courage, which I think is the executive virtue, which is also very much exhibited by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was a person of commitment, honor, courage, and was motivated by his love. So, this virtue integrates very well into honor, courage and commitment, I believe. So that's really what I take on for my life. And to that I do also use this word: authenticity. I think it's-- I think it's easy for us to become plastic. Say what other people want to hear, or to portray ourselves as so holy that maybe people think that we're so high up and they want to put us up on the pedestal. I think it's important for people to also know that we're human, even as Christ was human. Yes, he was the God man, but so my strength comes through Christ and some of those values that I hold very dear to my heart, the concepts of Christian love and I think they incorporate very well into the Navy's core values, honor, courage and commitment.

Zarbock: Commander Clore, it's been a privilege to know you. I thank you.

Clore: Thank you.

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