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Interview with Alan Hansen, May 3, 2007 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Alan Hansen, May 3, 2007
May 3, 2007
In this interview, Commander Alan Hansen discusses his military history, his education and training, his role as a chaplain, and memorable events in his career.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Hansen, Alan Interviewer:  Zarbock, Paul Date of Interview:  5/3/2007 Series:  Military Chaplains Length  90 minutes


Zarbock: Good afternoon. My name is Paul Zarbock. I'm a staff person with the Randall Library at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. This videotape is part of the Chaplain's Oral History Project at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Today is the 3rd of May in the year 2007 and we're in Camp Lejeune, and my interviewee is Commander Hansen, Alan Hansen. Good afternoon, sir, how are you?

Alan Hansen: I am well, sir.

Zarbock: First question. What individuals, series of individuals or event or series of events led you into the selection of the ministry as your profession?

Alan Hansen: Okay, sir. Well, I was prior enlisted in the Navy in 1976 in an effort to get away from a woman, and some 30 plus years she's still with me, but enlisted in 1976 to 1980 active duty and then three mores years in the reserve status being enlisted a Third Class Boatswain's [ph?] mate. During that time I had a deployment in 1977. We did a nine-month deployment to the Asian rim, Asian area and came back home, my life was a little discombobulated and broken because of my own drinking, my own life and my wife, she was living her way, I was living my way even though we were married, not much of a marriage. When I got back together, we found our way to a couple open churches, one of note which is the First Southern Baptist Church, San Diego, Park Boulevard, whereby an elderly man introduced himself to me, invited me out to the family picnic and the ensuing thing was like all good Baptist pastors do, the pastor came by the following Monday to visit and in my language, in my Christian language led me to the Lord, and my wife and soon thereafter was baptized and approximately a year later I felt this experience of what one might call a call to preach, did not understand how God could use that because of my education or because of the personality I had, and plus I looked at the pastor and at that time he has a three-piece suite, a pen and pencil and stayed at the pulpit and that was not for me, but he assured me God would use me where he could best use me. He told me to just be obedient and go to college and do the things of God. I got out of active service as an enlisted in 1980, went on to Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas and realized that ministry takes on different forms and the calling does not necessarily mean a pastor in a pulpit with a three-piece suit and a fine library and a beautiful desk, but it can mean many other things, and I had this burden for my friends who were in the military. And I figured, well, what better way is to see if God would open the doors that somehow I could do and provide ministry to the Navy. And in those days when I was enlisted, I could've cared less about the chaplain but now that I am a Christian, at that point I started referencing what the chaplains did and maybe their impact and I pursued the chaplaincy and then graduated from Wayland Baptist University.

Zarbock: How did you support yourself at the University?

Alan Hansen: Actually, I was reserve at the same time, enlisted, I pastored a church and I worked at the school as a janitor. So, pastored Rocky Ford Baptist Church.

Zarbock: What year did you graduate from the University?

Alan Hansen: 1984.

Zarbock: How old were you?

Alan Hansen: Oh my goodness, why do you ask me that? Let's see here, short of 30 something years, you know, so.

Zarbock: And you were married?

Alan Hansen: Correct, married, had one child at that point, my son.

Zarbock: That's called grim determination, isn't it?

Alan Hansen: Sure, sure, and because of my educational background, when I was in high school, I cared about many other things more so than I did my academics, so I was a little worried about going on to college, but my pastor assured me that the power of God plus the aspect of maturity would indeed help me through it. And He certainly did and it improved my grades from over high school. So from there we made our transition still into Texas though from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview to Fort Worth to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, went there, decided I was going to slow things down. I finished college in three years, figured at seminary I'd need to slow it down a little bit for family life, took me about five years. But I worked primarily for the Boy Scouts of America there as a paid Boy Scout Master to go into the Inner City Projects of Dallas-Forth Worth area and provide Scouting to kids that didn't know much about anything else other than the asphalt and some kind of thug life sometimes.

Zarbock: Were you ever home? You've got school, you've got weekend?

Alan Hansen: Well, I started when I was in seminary for about three years, I delivered New York Times, got up at 3:30 in the morning, delivered New York Times, came home, took my shower, got something to eat, watched about a half an hour of CNN news, got my family up, went to seminary, obviously got out sometimes between 12 and 2:00, had my Scout vehicle and my Scout trailer, which I would pull into the Inner City Projects and do Scouting until approximately 7:30 that evening, pull the trailer back at 8:00 and do as much homework as I could before I fell asleep. And so that's how I supported myself through seminary.

Zarbock: Let me see if I heard that right. You would get up at what time?

Alan Hansen: 3:30 in the morning, sir.

Zarbock: Uh-huh. You were a ball of fire at night, weren't you?

Alan Hansen: Yeah. I need a little bit more of that energy now.

Zarbock: Okay. And it took you five years but you completed your seminary?

Alan Hansen: Yes, sir.

Zarbock: Did you enjoy the seminary?

Alan Hansen: I loved it. I loved seminary, and through Wayland plus through Southwestern, there is not only just physical maturation but there was spiritual maturation of me understanding more about my calling, about my endeavors and what God was desiring for me to do versus what I would like to happen. But so through that while I was in seminary, again, I still had this burden for military folks, was trying to figure out how to express that, and somebody told me about the Chaplain Candidate Program, Officer Program, which you enlist, uh, no, excuse me, you are commissioned in that as an ensign, you have an ensign bar and you wear a cross, but you're not a chaplain. You're actually, it's a line commission and it's an awareness, on-the-job learning process whereby you can go and do some on-the-job training with various military installations and see what chaplains do, you get paid full benefits, full money at the ensign level, or O1, and you learn a lot about the military and learn about what it means to be a chaplain and you shadow along with chaplains. So I got a commission in that program and graduated from seminary. Through this whole process I knew I had such a burden to come back in at the sea services as a Navy chaplain, serve with Navy or the Coast Guard, Merchant Marines as the case had been for most of my career, and so I applied what they call supersede to 4105 active duty. There were no slots available for me and a man called me on the phone and said, "Well, I'm sorry, it's not 'cause you're not a good minister, but just availability is not there." He used the word "needs of the Navy." Well, I went and pastored a second church and my wife continued to ask me if it was such a strong calling and such an urgency and passion in my life before, why had I not continued to pursue it, and so what I did is I think about age 36 I reapplied and get a final answer, "Lord, do you really want me in the sea services as a chaplain or do you want me continuing as a pastor" and a door was opened for me and I received now not a Line Commission but a Reserve Commission as an active duty chaplain and made my way into Chaplain School in 1992, excuse me, yeah, 1992.

Zarbock: And you're how old at this time?

Alan Hansen: What am I, 50 years of age.

Zarbock: Really?

Alan Hansen: Yes, sir.

Zarbock: Okay. How was Chaplain School?

Alan Hansen: Chaplain School was great, I loved it.

Zarbock: Where was it?

Alan Hansen: Newport, Rhode Island.

Zarbock: How long?

Alan Hansen: At that point it was about I think a couple days short of two months.

Zarbock: And what was the focus, to teach you how to be a sailor?

Alan Hansen: No, sir, the focus is to help you number one be acculturated into the institution to help you know this is how you wear your uniform, these are the customs and courtesies when you see a senior officer, you don't wait for him or her to salute, you salute them at a certain distance and cut the salute when they're finished or when you approach this situation or that officer, this is how you do it. Everything from how to do correspondence, how the military does filing, community relation projects, camaraderie, the collegial perspective of how you're supposed to work in a pluralistic environment. There was a week for us during that time period where we had our drill sergeant who was a Marine who has the whole emphasis on the Marine Corps side, since the Navy Chaplains do serve for what we call the green or the Marine side, and he would help you to understand about the uniform or taking two half shelters and putting together for a tent and how to set up for a field alter and things like that. You know, we had the Coast Guard come in and lift us up in their little rescue helos and give us a ride, you know. At times when you're at sea, chaplains have to go ship to ship and they need to know what to do by being lifted up by a helo, as they call a holy helo.

Zarbock: Nice phrase.

Alan Hansen: Yeah, so Chaplain School was good.

Zarbock: Was your family living with, were they in residence with you?

Alan Hansen: No, sir, my family was in Idaho at that point in time when I was a pastor. I should say that the CCPO program, I went to, if you will, Chaplain School during that time period also, and CCPOs go to a forum like that, it's very much the same thing except for they understand that it's for CCPOs, they know that they're not chaplains.

Zarbock: What does CCPO stand for?

Alan Hansen: Chaplain Candidate Program Officers. If I remember right, they're not supposed to do counseling, if they do any teaching or preaching, it's supposed to be under the observation or leadership of another chaplain and they cannot provide communion or the elements as we would call say the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist, things like that.

Zarbock: No weddings or funerals?

Alan Hansen: No weddings nor funerals. It's mainly an observation period, so an individual can say, "This is really for me, I've got to press forward," or they can say, "This is absolutely not me, I'm more a parish minister" and they can resign their commission, no loss, no problem, you learned your lesson, we learned our lessons before. And so it's a grooming stage for individuals to understand about the institution of what distinction and differences there are or similarities as there would be in parish ministry versus institutional ministry with the Navy or whatever, whether it be hospital ministry or working for General Dynamics as a chaplain, you know, so.

Zarbock: Where were you assigned after Chaplain School?

Alan Hansen: My first assignment was USS Shasta AE33, which is an explosive ammunitions ship, basically a hollow ship that carried ammunition to include special weapons otherwise known as nukes and we'd transport those from site to site and transport and replenish carriers and other ships at sea. We had some refueling capabilities and some minor stores, what they call stores, food, grocery type stuff to transfer to another ship, but the primary mission was ammunition.

Zarbock: What was your home port?

Alan Hansen: Home port was Concord, California, just east bay of San Francisco area.

Zarbock: So you left the east coast and you ended up being assigned on a ship on the west coast?

Alan Hansen: Well no, sir, I mean I was, yeah, you mean east coast from Chaplain School?

Zarbock: Yeah.

Alan Hansen: Yes, sir. And then flew to Concord and then my family joined me from Idaho there, so that was the start of the chaplain corps for us or for me.

Zarbock: What was that like for your family to enter a new culture and a new environment and a new geography?

Alan Hansen: The newness was not so much geography, because we had served enlisted in San Diego and the newness was not so much to the military in that my wife had been with me when I was in the military, at that point in time enlisted, and maybe the newness was more the sense of increased responsibility, this passion for a calling, a new earnestness to that, and maybe the newness about no longer was I enlisted but now I'm an officer, and I quite frankly must carry myself in a different manner and not highfalutin or anything, but there comes with it a different perspective.

Zarbock: It's a different role entirely.

Alan Hansen: Yes, sir. So, that might've been the only newness there. Wonderful place. We lived on the Concord Naval Weapons Station. In those days of course it had all the bunkers with special weapons and everything else, and Marine security detachments, and they roved around the whole area. I think there's maybe about 18 houses on that place. We were fortunate to live in one. One of the most secure places I've ever been in my life because of the Marines and the security that was there.

Zarbock: And what was your job assignment?

Alan Hansen: My job, as Command Chaplain, USS Shasta.

Zarbock: Were there other chaplains on board?

Alan Hansen: No, no, sir, you know, just my RP, Religious Program Specialist.

Zarbock: RB stands for?

Alan Hansen: RP, Religious Program Specialist, basically the chaplain's assistant and now in Greenside or in combat it's the chaplain's bodyguard.

Zarbock: Were those happy days?

Alan Hansen: Very good, very good days. Most of my days as a chaplain have been great. There's probably about oh three to five days a year I say I'll go back to be a boatswain mate, back enlisted any time but then I think about the paycheck and think "What was I thinking?" But like anyone else, there's a couple days that come along that will always frustrate you and you push through those and you know your calling and you know your purpose and where God has led you and put you, and you do that which he desires. It was good days on USS Shasta.

Zarbock: Where did you go after you left that duty assignment?

Alan Hansen: Well, they asked me if I wanted to go to Naples, Italy, Naval Support Activity in Naples, Italy, talked with my wife, very excited, very open, I mean. Military, if you're going to be in the military, they're going to send you places, so we were sent to Naval Support Activity in Naples, Italy and served there I guess about three years and phenomenal time during our times of leave or during the summer, easy opportunity to get into Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Germany, during the summer. And sometime during the wintertime we'd go up into Interlaken, Switzerland or into northern part of Italy, whether it be Milan or Florence, Pisa area or to Venice or Assisi and enjoy that or we'd go into Garmisch, Germany, right above Austria and go enjoy ourselves up there or during the winter we'd go to Garmisch and go skiing up there. For my son, I think he was age 16, I think we figured this out, when he, that whole tour when we were there, he found himself in 13 different countries, either he played on the Italian all-star baseball team or he worked with a youth ministry thing called Club Beyond where they would go do service projects in Romania or Albania, places like that, and he even made his way to the Masai tribe in Africa and did a project for Marines, was an NCYM military community's youth ministries Club Beyond is the youth ministry out of Naples that went there. So, very densely populated city, a different way of living that they take a different view of their cars than I do as an American, you know, and so there were some struggles. It's a new culture and it was not only for me a tough tour culturally but a wonderful tour from the perspective professionally or by _______.

Zarbock: What problems would find a way to your desk?

Alan Hansen: In Naples, Italy during that time?

Zarbock: Yes. Were there drugs, were there alcohol?

Alan Hansen: It was not drugs, it was primarily a sense of alcohol abuse, a sense of being somewhat isolated. They were in an area called Capokino [ph?]. There was another friend of mine, a chaplain friend of mine, dear friend of mine, Ray Bailey, we developed a thing called Tidy Bowl hockey and we used toilet bowl brushes maybe about two and a half foot long with hardwood handles, and we developed this hockey game by using those and a soft rubber ball. And we would pit the Marines against the Seabees or the Seabees with the enlisted staff that was serving in the barracks there and just had a wonderful time, you know, it was just something unique. But it brought them out of the barracks and that way they didn't have to worry about going and drinking. It was a project given to them, we called it hot dogs, hockey and homily, you know, and short little devotional thing, cook them up some hot dogs and go out there and Marines and sailors, they loved to kind of just mix it up a little bit. And by the way, this is not on grass, this is on concrete, so it got, if you got checked you hit the ground, you hit the concrete, but it was a fun time. It made all the news in the, what's the newspaper over there?

Zarbock: Stars and Stripes?

Alan Hansen: Stars and Stripes, thank you. So, but we always, Chaplain Bailey and myself, good friend of mine, always trying to come up with good programs to encourage recreation and development of their moral character and their biblical character. And it was a good entrée to them seeing us, hey, we can get out there and mix it up also and good relationships were built, a rapport, and that opened us up to be able to have that sense of vulnerability for the other sailors and the Marines to come and approach us and say, "I'm having this problem" primarily and it would be either relationship or alcohol primarily at that time.

Zarbock: Relationship?

Alan Hansen: Relationship with their spouse, relationship with their command, relationships with their children or their sweetheart, whatever it would be. That was if I remember right, the primary counseling situations we found ourselves in, that there was some kind of relationship problem that that individual would have and was asking us for advice or encouragement or ideas or what the Bible had to say about it. So, and then obviously I think the sea services have always seen alcohol abuse and problems as trials that lots of sailors and Marines have found themselves in.

Zarbock: Did you have a situation in which American military wanted to marry local girls?

Alan Hansen: Yes, yes.

Zarbock: What was your role in that event?

Alan Hansen: My role, and in Italy it is a legal process. It's not necessarily like a religious process like we would think of it here in America, in churches, although it is legal for us also. You go in to the Justice of the Peace or you go to the county clerk and you get that license and you bring that. Here in America maybe predominantly we would give it to our pastor and have them marry us or that that religious officiate. In Italy, it is primarily a legal process. Now if an individual, sailor or Marine, wanted to marry an Italian woman, they had to go through many wickets that were legal wickets through, I guess you would call it the prefecture, there in Naples and the proper authorities to get all the stamps and all the documentation and authorizations from the Neapolitan side, then the military blessed it and chaplains could do the ceremony, but it was not the same as doing a ceremony here. Because we were not the legal officiants, we were just simply helping them do a ceremony that would be much like you see here in America.

Zarbock: So the civil ceremony really was, that's when the actual unity took place?

Alan Hansen: Correct. And a civil ceremony, to say it's a ceremony, it's not a ceremony, it's just a process of paperwork and stamps, signatures.

Zarbock: Well, I spent a few years overseas and in the Orient and we were all very young, and I knew two chaps who decided that they wanted to marry Japanese girls, and there was a substantial amount of hurdles that would be placed in that. Did you find that situation too of a young man that finds himself in Italy and discovers true love and romance and you're a little bit cautious about it.

Alan Hansen: Sure, and I think any commander, and I'm talking a commanding officer or supervising individuals, needs to mentor and talk with those young people to see are they jumping the gun, have they thought this through, have thought of the ramifications, have they thought what parents might think, even just from a different culture being brought back home. Though there might be equality, maybe their folks would have a sense of inequality by whatever different cultures are being mixed together. So maybe the pastor's role would be as a confidant or someone to help them think things through from a lot of different perspectives and what perhaps the command would desire. Is this for whatever reasons, you know, you've heard the sayings where some folks would marry just to get back to America. I guess maybe that occurs. I'm not so sure I've necessarily seen it a lot in my life and ministry. I think it's mainly out of relationships in love, so just making sure that they, even though they're young and they are mature from the perspective of the military, they're still young physiologically and growing and young in life experiences, and so the chaplain has a role of helping them work through to define. Is this something that has lasting value, is this something that I really want to do, is there any legal ramifications, are there any genetic ramifications, anything that may come to play on that.

Zarbock: Where did you go after?

Alan Hansen: Naples, Italy, we came here to Camp Lejeune in 1997. I actually came to this Command, the Base here, of which now I have returned years later as a Commander, but as a Lieutenant in those days, came to Camp Lejeune. Initially for the first couple of months worked at Midway Park Family Housing out there as the pastor and the chapel pastor there. In January of 1998, went to the School of Infantry, Infantry Training Battalion and had a phenomenal tour there, which is right here, it's a part of Camp Lejeune. It is the continuation of boot camp if you will. You have boot camp at Parris Island, and they would move on their 10 days of leave, come to the School of Infantry if they're going to be grunts or infantrymen, they go through an Infantry Training Battalion. If they are skilled Marines from the perspective of electronics, technicians or computers or admin type clerks, they all go through MCT, Marine Combat Training Battalion. And 50%, excuse me, and 100% of all women going through Parris Island come to the Marine Combat Training here at the School of Infantry. So these are individuals who are in this continuum of training for the Marine Corps. Many go on to their other MOSs or directly if they're interested.

Zarbock: MOS is?

Alan Hansen: Their missions, their job ratings. I'm a chaplain, there's others, a religious program specialist, there are those that are mortarmen, some who would be electronics people, computer admin.

Zarbock: Okay, so it's a number that identifies the job title?

Alan Hansen: Correct.

Zarbock: What was your task assignment?

Alan Hansen: There I was a Battalion Chaplain, Infantry Training Battalion, just great tour, you know, the first couple of weeks I wasn't sure if it was going to be a great tour because they got to my office and they were all lined up about 15, 16 deep and I thought they were having the random urinalysis, and come to find out, they were there to see the chaplain. And I did that for about two weeks and told my wife, "I cannot keep this pace" and they saw me as perhaps the way to get out of the Marine Corps at that point. Maybe this was not the best decision they thought they had in their lives, so "maybe the chaplain could help me get out." And so while I was at Infantry Training Battalion, I came over here to Lejeune Graphics and I had a large poster made. That poster was probably about four foot by five foot, it had red McDonald's arches in the middle and a big yellow circle around it and a yellow line through the center like this and four-inch letters at the bottom that says "This is not McDonald's and you sure the heck cannot quit at the end of the show. Now do you really want to talk to this chaplain?" And every Marine who'd walk in, I'd say "Devil Dog, you read my sign. I'm not here for you to break your integrity or to help you get out. I'm here to help you continue on. Read my sign. Do you really want to talk to me or do you want to go back to training?" And that 15, 17 number that was outside my house [ph?] the first couple weeks, it dwindled real quick to about five and then of course I did a lot of field ministry, tried to stay out of my office as much as possible, and out there is where you do the counseling and instead of bringing them in to me, I'd go out to the field, and that was a great change right there, you know, because that's where they're at. You pull them in, they got smart, they knew if they got pulled in to talk to the chaplain, they put in a chip, they got to come in, they had come in early so they got a warm breakfast, they got to stay in through the warmth of the day, they might've got a warm lunch and maybe even a dinner and one more night staying in a nice bed, and then they got returned to the field, all because they talked with the chaplain. Well, we changed that perspective and said, "You wanna talk to the chaplain, you talk to me in the field" and it changed a lot of the numbers. But a phenomenal ministry there. I've been, years later I've had Marines come up to me who absolutely knew me from that time period. At that time, Infantry Training Battalion was a little more than 30 days training, and every week I did a little folding encouragement note to them, a devotional in there, a little comical thing and some quotes and greetings telling them who I was, and I'd hand those out, one for each week, four for the whole duration during the time. Years and years later, I had a young man that saw me across the street, "Chaplain Hansen, Chaplain Hansen." Of course, the School of Infantry, thousands of kids go through there, so I don't know one Marine from another by and large, but he recognized me. He pulled out his wallet and he had all four of those and they were absolutely _____, just tattered. Each day he takes one and reads through it again. He had them memorized and there was only four and he carries all four in his wallet. And so it was a phenomenal time in the ministry for me. I know I had a good impact on Marines' lives there, so Infantry Training Battalion.

Zarbock: When you went out in the field, did you get a warm breakfast and a warm lunch?

Alan Hansen: No, sir, no, sir, you go out there and you do the same thing, other than from the time maybe I left my home if I had a cup of coffee before I left from that perspective or late into the evening. You'd probably miss dinner with your family so maybe at least I came in and had a sandwich at home or something.

Zarbock: And after that?

Alan Hansen: Infantry Training Battalion, I'll make the long story real short. My friend I already mentioned to you, Chaplain Ray Bailey, who was in Italy, I kind of hornswoggled him, configured to get him here and we could co-pastor a Camp Geiger Chapel out there at the School of Infantry together and the day that I was checking him in the exchange and helping him get uniforms, his camouflage uniforms, my cell phone went off and it was my Command Chaplain who was asking me about my desires to go to Japan. I told him I have no desires to go to Japan, however, my family would probably like it. And he said, "Well, don't worry about your family because they're not going. You're going for a year," which turned out to be a 14-month unaccompanied tour at Combined Arms Training Center in Mount Fuji, Japan, right on the side of the mountain of Mount Fuji. And that probably was close to being one of my most phenomenal tours. I griped a lot about going, but once I was there I had a Colonel who threw money at me and supported me in a grand way and had a phenomenal ministry at Camp Fuji.

Zarbock: What made it phenomenal?

Alan Hansen: Phenomenal. Number one, it's on the side of the mountain, it's two hours away from Tokyo or anything. There is nothing to do there except for three things: work, sleep or eat and drink, and a lot of them drink. On Sunday mornings they had just the worship service. When I got there, I asked him for thousands of dollars of money, I bought many guitars, electrical, acoustic guitars, I bought amps, PA systems, I bought a bass guitar, I bought a $3,000 keyboard player, I bought a set of Pearl drums, I bought a new stereo for the place, I bought an almost a thousand dollar JVC, no excuse me, Sony camera and children's books in those days, so this was way early where I was setting out where they could read children's books to their kids, because it's unaccompanied, and they can send that video back home to their families and their children so they could see them reading that. So what I did is my Colonel gave me free reign. On Monday nights, I had Monday night music nights. These Marines come on deployment and go up there for training, they cannot carry their guitars. And one of the things I've learned is you take any ten Marines, one of them is a near concert pianist, one of them can play guitar almost anywhere for any rock band or any band there is, and the others have some understanding or desire to learn. So on my Monday night music nights, they would just flock there. And my policy was if you don't want to teach someone about the instrument, that's fine, all you have to do is play for me on Sunday morning. If you don't want to be at church and don't want to play for me on Sunday morning, all you have to do is teach somebody about that instrument. And the third rule I had is they could not use the word F, you know what I'm talking about, language, in the chapel. And so I had a dynamic program and dozens and dozens of Marines every Monday night waiting, getting in line to grab whatever guitars and play and learn and experience that. And I transitioned to have a good, a quality worship program with quality music and had a Christian rock band. We played for the enlisted club. So that was Monday nights, you know. We had Bible studies. Let's see what else we had, we had Christian video night, we had a board game night, oh, just a lot of things. So when I would wake up in the morning, I would go in my office and do all the counseling and everything, but in the evening, that's where I would be, at that chapel and the greater part of my life impacting ministry was in the evening and late into the night with those Marines who had nowhere else to go. But I had the goods, I had the guitar, I had the drums they could play, I had the camera that they could send a note back home, you know, I had some of the stuff to watch something, a video that maybe they hadn't seen before with a good perspective versus some of the violent type movies. I had Bible study and there are certainly those who would be attracted to that. Then on Sunday, if they came to worship, during that hour is when the liberty buses left for Yokota, Japan, the Air Force Base there, what is it Camp Zama Army Base, Atsugi, the Navy Base there and Yokosuka, the Navy Base and for Tokyo. So you had a choice, you either went on liberty and you missed worship or you came to worship and you missed the liberty buses, so I asked the Colonel would he provide me a bus every week for those that came to worship, and we went to a Shinto shrine of some significant area, sometimes even into Tokyo, and helped them to understand that they weren't being penalized for coming and expressing their faith, and the Colonel provided that bus and we went to a lot of different places. One other thing that was a great life impacting ministry for me there is the Colonel let me take care of the orientation of all Marines coming in. And during those days, we had Marines and Airmen over in Okinawa who had been accused of raping young, teenage girls and stuff, and I approached the Colonel and I said, "It's a part of not understanding culture. These folks, our young people come over here and do not understand the culture. Give me three days to help them understand some things about this culture," not that I know, but I can be the Resource Officer to get individuals of Japanese heritage who speak English and know the culture and customs to come and teach. So we had one day that we'd come and learn about the train systems and about the money, about language, the dos, the don'ts, the blessings that if you at least try to speak the language, they appreciate that, some various things like that. And then on Friday, again, the Colonel, Colonel Eugene Pino.

Zarbock: I'm sorry, last name?

Alan Hansen: Colonel Eugene Pino, USMC.

Zarbock: Spell.

Alan Hansen: P-I-N-O. He was the Colonel there, full Colonel, he blessed that and we had tour buses that would take off on a Friday for every orientation, excuse me, once a month for every orientation, take those Marines and instead of going to Roppongi, which was the drinking and party district in Tokyo, we took them to the famous Shinto shrines or we took them to Shibuya, which is a major shopping district, we took them to the Harley dealership, the Harley-Davidson dealership, we took them and showed them there is much more to Tokyo and Japan than going to the drinking area and with the party girls. Go and experience everything else that is there. And so they learned something about culture, they learned something about the dos and don'ts, they learned about how to do the money, the learned about how to do the train system so they could get around. And it really blessed the Marines and the sailors that were there too. So that was a life impacting ministry I think I had and very fortunately had a Colonel that blessed that and supported me. So that's some of the ministries we did at Camp Fuji.

Zarbock: And from there, you?

Alan Hansen: From Camp Fuji, I went to a Naval Hospital or Medical Center at Portsmouth, Virginia for a year internship, pastoral care residency there, otherwise known maybe in some religious circles as Clinical Pastoral Education. It's the equivalent on the medical side where you go in for intensive internship, they ask you, "Well, why did you approach the patient this way, why did you do that?" We had to do verbatims on everyone we counseled and talked with, "I said this, they said this, they said this then and started crying, I felt this, or when I felt that I started crying too" and it helped you get in touch with yourself and understand the situation when you're with patients. And that was for a year, unaccompanied tour also. My family was here. Fuji was 14 months unaccompanied, this was 12 months unaccompanied, so, while my wife and children were here at Camp Lejeune.

Zarbock: After that clinical experience, did that change the dynamic with you and your family?

Alan Hansen: It certainly did. As a matter of fact, my wife...

Zarbock: Now that I mention it.

Alan Hansen: ...will tell those in the know, like my senior chaplains, "Once in awhile, Alan needs to go back to CPE just to get a refresher about chilling out and not being so wrapped around the axle about certain things," you know, and to stop and take a sense of a situational awareness of what's going on or what's moving me or what's making me move like that internally and then just kind of calmly making the decision from there. So yes, it was life changing, even for my family, and it was quite a blessing for the first year after that with my family. They realized the difference to ole Alan and I still struggle with that, but I keep going back on some of those self-supervised re-skills of trying to understand myself and where I need to change to be a better minister.

Zarbock: We'll come back to the sequencing of your life, but I'm going to give a little side tour here, or ask you to do a little side tour. Off camera, I asked would you answer, or would you describe and define a really happy event that took place in your professional life, a really unhappy event that took place in your professional life, the two memories that stick with you, and finally, in the middle of those bookend remarks, recalling some funny, absurd, you know, just throw up your hands and think "I can't believe this is going on" type incidents, could you do that?

Alan Hansen: Sure, I'll try to think about that now too. When you say off camera, are you saying that the camera is still going to be going?

Zarbock: The camera will still be going, but you and I talked about this.

Alan Hansen: Okay, yeah, off camera if you will, or on camera. One of the greatest blessings of my ministry, number one is to spend a year in combat and with my Marines and sailors in Fallujah, Iraq for the year 2005. And some of the expression of my ministry there can be found in things that stand out to me as special moments, there's a lieutenant Colonel and there was a retired Colonel who was working as a civilian there who had accepted Christ, realized that their lives could be lived on a different level with a greater sense of purpose and design and they had, these were individuals who foul-mouthed, ornery, just old, broken Colonel type, Lieutenant Colonel type folks who God found his way into their lives and used me as a vessel of that, as a conduit, and the sense of them being able to approach the chaplain in a combat arena and say "I'm a senior officer but I don't have any real purpose. I don't know where I'm going." And so I was fortunate enough in my Christian language to lead them to the Lord, and you ask for one of those most memorable times of ministry would be in some 125 degree heat, baptized these adult men, these hardcore Marine Colonels, Lieutenant Colonels in their Christian faith, baptize them there in the desert in Fallujah, Iraq. And so that stands out as some of those hallmarks as very special blessings that I've been able to experience. Some of the sadness obviously is going to come from the same perspective of the death there, going to Fallujah surgical when I first was there. I went to Fallujah surgical, I was the Fallujah Surgical Chaplain until the Reserve Chaplain got on deck a couple of months later, and it just still amazes me that what IEDs, the improvised explosive devices, how that just totally shreds the human body. Prior to that I had been at Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida and we sent our traumatologists, our ER nurses, our ER doctors, our surgeons and nurse staff to Los Angeles to trauma centers to gain a little bit of experience of major trauma compared to what maybe they had experienced before, but yet even then in combat would not prepare them for the things that they would see visually and experience from the effects of an IED going off and either wounding, maiming or even killing our Marines, our Sailors and including the allies being the Iraqi military forces that were there for us. So in terms of bad, kind of mixture of good. The bad is that as of this day, your video, it is still a struggle, still a major struggle in Iraq and particularly Al Anbar Province, of which the Marines have oversight of that, I have brought back with me a voting sheet where those Iraqis would stick their thumb in an ink and use that, and I was able to bring that back and I framed it and gave it to my daughter and shared with her "This is my sacrifice. Your sacrifice is that your dad wasn't with you for a year. This represents it." So it's bittersweet, you know, separating from my wife, separating from my kids, enduring a year of combat, wonderful opportunities and I'm very thankful that I had an opportunity to be a part of some people's freedom in Iraq, to say yes or no, do or don't, and there's just a great satisfaction to know in my whole life in the military that that is what we've trained for, the Marines have trained for, RPs, religious program specialists, chaplains have trained to go to combat, so that when that time comes, they would be ready, and it is a phenomenal time of ministry. I would like it to have been at the end, be my last tour, to be the crescendo. The Lord has seen fit that that is not it, but I will always look back with fondness about my year in Fallujah. At the same time, I've got to tell you the truth, it was not all peaches and cream also. I have certain remembrances and I have certain images and certain experiences I to this day still struggle with, but I also balance that with the great affirmations and pleasant images of knowing when I put that Colonel or that Lieutenant Colonel or others that we had baptized under that water in that historic land, ancient land of Biblical nature, you know.

Zarbock: Were you frightened?

Alan Hansen: I'm not sure if I'd ever really use the word frightened. Was I fearful at times? I'm not sure how to make that distinction, frightened or fearful. Yeah at times, and was I fearful if I died in the sense of going to Heaven? I know where I'm going. And from the sense of leaving my children fatherless, yeah, there was always that thought, whether you be on a convoy or in a helo, traveled throughout Iraq as the Deputy ______ Command Chaplain Force Chaplain, whether it was to Balad [ph?] or Baghdad to do a brief or Al Asad [ph?] or TQ, they call it Al Taqaddum [ph?], wherever it might be or out to the civil military center out in town in Fallujah. There was always that sense, you know, if you're in a convoy, in a truck, a seven-ton and you're wondering well is that the car that's gonna come slam into us. And so there was that sense of some anxiety. Did I look and see an evil person around every corner? No. One of the things that stand out from a warfare perspective that I will always take with me, you go to chapel, everyone other than the chaplain has a pistol or a rifle, unlike anywhere else in this world. Everyone, they take their pistols or rifles everywhere they go. They go to the shower, they go to the head, they go to their room or they go to chow. They go to chapel, they have it. And we had taken a service approximately about 60 people and it had grown to about 120-130 people in worship, it was a great service. I shared this story that one day we were getting ready to do the pastoral prayer, and we started taking incoming, they had launched some mortars into us, and the tin and everything on the building starts rattling, and I immediately ask everybody to get up off their seats, and get down on their knees. I told all the Marines and all the sailors there, and there was some civilian contractors, please get on your knees, and this was my prayer, "Lord God, these are thugs, terrorists and murders. They are seeking to kill us." And about that time our artillery started going out to take out the position, I says "Lord, I pray that you take this lead downrange on target and kill them right now. Amen." The Marines had never heard any chaplain talk like that or pray like that ever, but once they realized that was the same expression that not so much that God's on our side and not on their, but this expression that these people are really trying to hurt us in a time when we're trying to express a sense of worship. They're trying to kill us, Lord, we don't want that lead, that artillery to go downrange for no reason and in vain. Make it hit on target. And there will be people I'm sure in future who would just say "What kind of prayer would you have ever prayed?" And like I shared with you, Paul, before, that maybe they weren't there to have that same frame of reference. If they were there, maybe they'd send the same prayer. I'll leave it for history to say. All my Marines said "oorah" or "amen" immediately following, because it was an expression of need at that point. So that stands out too.

Zarbock: You know, that's an extremely interesting, and I can't think of a word that really fits, smelting [ph?] of the military role and your religious role.

Alan Hansen: Sure.

Zarbock: You know, you were speaking partially as a military officer and certainly partially as an ordained minister.

Alan Hansen: Mm-hmm.

Zarbock: Does that happen often?

Alan Hansen: Well, I guess.

Zarbock: Maybe it's the intensity of the moment.

Alan Hansen: I think it was the intensity of the moment, and as you and I were talking about the book on Chaplaincy and Institutional Ministry by Chaplain Hutchinson [ph?], there is always that struggle, that tension that this is not my local faith group church, this is an institution, and I am free to maintain my convictions in this institution, but at the same time it is an institution that has its ways, its methodologies, its regulations and instructions, and I have to be like anyone else. I'm a man under authority and I've got to be obedient to that. So --

(tape change)

Zarbock: Tape Number Two, Camp Lejeune, 3 May, 2007. Commander Hansen is the interviewee. Let me ask you to reflect, when you came back from Iraq, you flew into the United States, is that correct?

Alan Hansen: Yes sir.

Zarbock: Military or civilian aircraft?

Alan Hansen: It was a civilian aircraft contracted by the military, so.

Zarbock: All the passengers were military?

Alan Hansen: Correct, correct.

Zarbock: Most, if not all, were Marines I assume, or was it a mixture?

Alan Hansen: It was a mixture; there were some soldiers but it was a mixture because we flew out of Kuwait, and December 31st, just before midnight, I left Fallujah by CH-46 helo [ph?], flying into Al Taqaddum, or otherwise known as TQ, still in Iraq. I remember getting there. It's a huge, phenomenally huge airbase, and just thinking well thank God I'm out of Fallujah, no more incoming, no more mortars, no more rockets. And the next day was Sunday I believe it was, at church, going on to breakfast with another chap and we took incoming, and it was just like, oh yes, I just cannot get away from this. Spent a couple of days there, and there was a great story there, but spent a couple of days. And then into Kuwait.

Zarbock: I'm sorry, you said great story?

Alan Hansen: There's great stories there in terms of my flak and kevlar were about six miles away and everybody's yelling at me about why in the world?-- you got to get your stuff. Well go get my stuff, it's six miles away, I don't have any transportation. And guess what? You know, if they hit me now just as- and I'm just walking down and everybody's in bunkers and the whole thing. It was like-- so what good? If it hits me it takes me out. But at that point flying into TQ I thought it kind of ended and that was part of my life that was now in the past, but in reality still took incoming. I'm not too jumpy after the fact but with noises, even the artillery around here, I'm still very unnerved by that. We flew from there into Kuwait. Now Kuwait is a central processing transitory place throughout the whole world, for military. And so from Kuwait you get on a civilian contracted, excuse me, military contracted civilian airlines and Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Sailors, and come back to various points through Germany primarily. And we landed in Pope Air Force Base, just outside of Fort Bragg area, North Carolina, and took tour buses from there to, in my case, Camp Lejeune. And I had already made arrangements to stay at the Bachelor Officer Quarters. There was this sense of being glad I'm away from that incoming. I'm glad that I don't have to hear the helos anymore or the artillery going out. There was a sense of finally, on January 6th I believe it was, 2006, a sense of final ease. And I was by the BOQ, just sitting in a swing with a Coke in my hand, it was a nice warm day-- it was really my first full day back here at Lejeune. My family being down at Jacksonville, Florida, so they were not with me. I'm just sitting there and just thinking, yeah, it's behind me, I don't have to worry too much about the helos that are inbound, which means either they're bringing in people that have been injured, medivacs, things like that. I don't have to worry about the sound of artillery going out because that means it's going out to kill somebody who's trying to kill us, and the sounds that go along with that. Well I was sitting on that bench and just kind of enjoying the peace of the moment and was thrust immediately back into Fallujah when the helos lifted up across the waterfront here at Marine Corps Air Station, New River, with the rotary wing helos there, lifting up, and so that sound just triggered me back, and thinking like, yes, like I could get away from that. And then at about the same time we were at Camp Lejeune, a training base, the whole artillery at the Verona Loop areas and where they do artillery were going off. And it just really took me back, a quick transition back; whereby I thought I had left it behind, I had not left it behind. Even though this is a peacetime environment, it took me back readily because of sights, sounds, noises. And so I had to again realize you know, I'm back in the States, there'll be certain things that will be different for me. There'll be experiences I had that will be with me forever, good and bad. And we talked about that band of brothers, that camaraderie, my chaplain friends and my Religious Ministry Teams that I had there have been back and some have even made a transition for a second tour. I was supposed to go back for another tour, a year tour, but the detailer moved me to base. And I'm completing about four years unaccompanied away from my wife and kids, since late '99, because I was a year in Iraq and now a year with my daughter to graduate from high school in Fleming Island High in Jacksonville, Florida. They will join me here in June, in a couple of months, about shortly a month, and we'll close out that four year unaccompanied time and start making our transition and integration back to- with one another as man and wife and father and that stuff. I got to see them on long weekends, long holidays, but it's been a long haul, and probably, as I look back, in the sovereign plan of God to help me to adjust very slowly back into communal life and community and family.

Zarbock: I think that situation of re-entry has really not been successfully addressed in the popular literature. I think most military people understand how difficult it is to leave your friends who are closer than close.

Alan Hansen: Yes sir.

Zarbock: And the shared frights and terrors, and to return to what you would hope would be a more pacific environment, more pastoral and more predictable, and maybe sometimes dull.

Alan Hansen: Well and there's that too at times, yes sir.

Zarbock: But it's a discordance between A and B.

Alan Hansen: Very much so, very much so.

Zarbock: And if you can't make it, it's a painful thing. Well what else would you like to talk about, before I get to my final two questions?

Alan Hansen: Do any of your final questions have to do with the transition of continuing of tours, by chance?

Zarbock: No, no.

Alan Hansen: Okay from the Naval Hospital, or Medical Center at Portsmouth, the internship [ph?] I went to the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida for three years, at which time Captain Lee Miller, the chaplain, had talked with his General Three Star, General Amos, to ask me to come on staff and go forward. I moved up here 18 days later, went to Iraq for a year, and did that with 2 MEF [ph?] as a deputy and worked with Army and all the Religious Ministry Teams and set the, if you will, spiritual battle plan in place. In Iraq I went in an advanced party and got all that set throughout Iraq for 2 MEF; MEF is Marine Expeditionary Force. There's a MEF here on the East Coast, that's 2 MEF. 1 MEF is in California and 3 MEF, Marine Expedition Force is in Okinawa. So from MEF, 2 MEF here at Camp Lejeune, I transitioned to be the Deputy Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Chaplain, and some day maybe fleet up to be the base chaplain, we'll see where that goes. Looking to maybe go on another Marine tour after this, perhaps-- I've put in for what they call IA, Individual Augmentation, as a year tour in Afghanistan. So the Lord only knows where the tour goes after this.

Zarbock: Me, Chaplain, one of the-- I don't know what word to put in there-- but if I was a Marine and found out that within x number of months I would return, to a combat zone, I think I would be-- this is a master of understatement-- very concerned. What -- have you had experiences with Marines who have gone on the second tour and are going on the third, or have gone on the first and going on the second?

Alan Hansen: I've known Marines who've done four deployments to Iraq, the initial push into Iraq and up on their fourth deployment now. And it takes a toll. And there's this superstitious or even statistical thought that the third round or more, the more times you're in there, the greater chance you're not going to come back. And so there's this increased awareness or anxiousness about the survivability factor after tour after tour after tour. And that's something that chaplains are keenly able to minister to them about and listen to that perspective.

Zarbock: How did you do that?

Alan Hansen: From a spiritual perspective, and trying to take care of their families and supporting staff back here with the chaplains. So. And on the other hand, how do you do that? You do it by understanding that's your role too. I mean some, my wife can't understand, why in the world would you volunteer to go to Afghanistan? But that's what we're about, that's where-- my Marines are not always in Camp Lejeune. They're not there in _______. They're in Horn of Africa, they're in Iraq, they're in Kuwait, they're in Afghanistan, they're in small little hot spots and operations throughout the world. And so there is that sense of family is family, and that's true. And I don't love my family any less because I would volunteer to go for another year unaccompanied in combat. I love my family no less, but I love my Marines also and I love the calling God has given to me, which is unique and different than Pastor So-and-so of County Seat Church, Somewhere, whereby your furniture never gets scratched because you don't PCS, where your children--.

Zarbock: PCS, a Permanent Change of Station.

Alan Hansen: Correct. Whereby many of those same factors-- we live in a very transitory society as it is anyways. However, I think with the Military the sense of op-tempo, operational tempo, and Daddy's gone four times now to Iraq, that plays heavy on children. We are currently trying to bring on a Youth Minister onboard this base here to have a sole specific ministry to the youth (loud background noise) of our Marines and Sailors.

Zarbock: I've got both at a stinnet [ph?].

Alan Hansen: Yes, that's all right. So hopefully everything's okay and nobody fell over but--

Zarbock: That was not an incoming route.

Alan Hansen: No it was not. You would know the difference. But still noises make me jump.

Zarbock: It sounds a little like a mortar though, didn't it?

Alan Hansen: Yes, well way, way away, maybe, so.

Zarbock: Well that was a theatrical interruption that none of has- neither one of us had planned.

Alan Hansen: That's right, yes. Well I've had plenty of interruptions like that, whether in bed in Iraq in my little mud hut or at Fallujah Surgical or in chapel or in chow. One of my greatest stories-- I got to share this with you guys-- after awhile you just say well if it's going to get me it's going to get me. And Chaplain Milner and myself, our office was a little plywood office. We originally were in a bombed out palace but now we got this little wood hut for our offices. And we were in the chow hall, they call them the DIFACs, the diet facilities now, and they had large screen TVs in there pumping in the AFN, Armed Forces Network channels, and they had Shania Twain, a famous country music star, and she was singing, doing a concert on there, and we were eating our ice cream, and we took incoming, and everybody was running out of the chow hall to go get their flak and kevlar and go to their bomb out shelters. And myself and Lee Milner, Chaplain Milner just looked at each other and said what better way if we're going to go out, is just eating ice cream and watching Shania Twain? And so we just kept eating and people were trying to get us to leave. But where are we going to go to? Are we going to go outside? Are we going to go to a wood hut? So what better way than to be sitting there and watch a pretty singer and eating your ice cream. So, such is life. Sometimes things are jumpy, sometimes they're not.

Zarbock: Oh, what a story.

Alan Hansen: Yeah, anyway. So that brings us up to date to having a personal change of duty station from Two Marine Expedition Force to the base here now. I'm still working with Chaplain Milner and we're doing everything we can to minister to the family members and children that are on this end now. We can't be on the other end. There's other folks, our camaraderie type folks that are on that side doing it now. Now we're back here and we're trying to do what we can to ensure that we take care of the family back here.

Zarbock: For editorial purposes I point out that Chaplain Milner was interviewed during this visit and his name is cross-indexed. Well I told you I was going to ask two questions at the end, or ask a question and then ask for a comment on your part. The question, of all the things--. No, no I've, I've forgotten. As a chaplain have you ever been ordered or has it ever been suggested, has it ever been hinted, or did you ever get a wink and a nudge to do something that was in violation of your ethic or sense of morality? Have you ever been commanded or ordered?

Alan Hansen: Not commanded or ordered but one time with an Executive Officer the individual, a female Executive Officer, I'd rather not say which command, but she wanted me to do the anchor pool, which is you take a calendar and you determine, you guess at what time you think the anchor is going to actually drop, and if it's on your time of day you get the pool of money. She wanted me to run that, and also a slush fund of just the money and using it for smaller purposes of helping out here and there; of which military regulations are very clear that chaplains are not to be involved with any money, not the taking, the care or even delivery of cash type stuff. That was the only time.

Zarbock: And you refused?

Alan Hansen: Yes, I let her know this that I was not refusing an order, I could not follow through with it in good conscience or in accordance with military instruction; however, I would encourage her that maybe there are some folks onboard that could possibly take that on as a project and for morale purposes or maybe take the money and use if for a particular bus tour or maybe a community relations project. And she took that avenue instead of forcing it and giving it to me.

Zarbock: Chaplain, of all your life experiences, childhood and adolescence, educational experiences, military experiences, life experiences, what did you learn from all of that? What's life really like?

Alan Hansen: Well life is, got to have purpose. You can live life and live it for 68 years or live it for 20 years. You live it without purpose, I think it's a tragedy. Lots of folks work and do jobs to gain a dollar to feed their kids, to feed their families, and they absolute despise their jobs. But they've got to do it because that's what they're doing to try to provide for the family. I have been most fortunate in that through either acts of obedience, through understanding God's will, through stepping forth in faith, whatever the means, I've been a most fortunate man to understand I have purpose, I have design, and I have a destiny, and God called it to me. I was obedient to that call and he has blessed me. And blessed me with this, I need not one day, not one minute, think about despising what I do in life. I love my job. I'm fortunate that I have the benefits and the blessings and a little bit of pay that God has provided through the military system to do actually what I love to do. And some folks ask me, "When are going to retire?" Well I don't know if I'm going to retire. I'm either going to get rust out or they're going to throw me out. But how fortunate can you be to know you have purpose in life, you have a good destiny and a good direction? And if you've blessed people, you've blessed your family, you've had an impact on this world. What better way to go out one way or another, a long life or a short life? And I would leave you with this. I often wonder what could be accomplished, what could be accomplished in this world if but one person took one more step of perseverance forward. And so I've lived my life by perseverance. C.H. Spurgeon, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a famous preacher from the 1800s I believe in England, has a phrase that I've lived my life by since I've become a Christian, and it goes this. It says, the snails reached the ark through perseverance. And so asking the right question, the right person, the right time at the right place might be about 90% of success in the military, or maybe even 90% success in life, and moving at that direction now to perseverance. I wonder what could be accomplished in this world if a person or individuals would take one more step of perseverance and see the fruits, the benefits, and the efficacy of what they've done in life. So.

Zarbock: Finally, off camera I said facetiously that one of the rewards for this videotape would be immortality, electronic immortality. You will never be a day older than you are today on this videotape. I keep thinking for example of President Kennedy as being 40. Well he'd be a very elderly man now, if even alive. Well through the miracle of electronics and the storage that's going to take place in the Archives at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, you'll always be there, and always be available. So with that, since you will never change, you'll always look the same, would you look directly into the camera and tell something that you wish to tell to your grandchildren.

Alan Hansen: I will, and I'll tell it to my wife and my children and my grandchildren, that I love them, appreciate them. They have given sacrifice just like anyone else. They may have not given blood sacrifice but they have sacrificed for, if you will, the freedoms for other people throughout the world. They have sacrificed their father at times on unaccompanied tours and missions and endeavors whereby that even in our own country they too may reap the rewards of the continuing efforts for freedom within our country. And to my grandchildren I trust that they have a safer environment; I'm a little fearful that they won't but I trust that for my little portion in life of encouraging others to keep us free too, that my children and my grandchildren and their posterity also will have a safer environment in our own country, and hopefully the extension throughout the world.

Zarbock: Thank you Chaplain, it's been a privilege.

Alan Hansen: Right.

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