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John R. Logan, MSW '00, Navy Chaplain

John R. Logan, MSW '00

A St. Croix Virgin Islands native, John R. Logan never thought that his delight in watching the Navy ships come to shore would lead to service in Iraq. As a child, he was determined to join the Navy, and he learned all he could about seamanship through the Sea Scouts.

At the age of 16, three years after conversion to the Christian faith and baptism into the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Logan gained another passion—“a calling to work for the Lord and help people.” He learned that he could combine his two interests by becoming a chaplain.

This led to several degrees: BA (1992) in theology from Antillean Adventist University, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; and master of divinity (1998) from Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. He worked as a minister in St. Croix and St. Maarten (ordained in 2005), was commissioned to the rank of ensign in the Naval Reserves, and completed the Chaplain Basic Course at the U.S. Naval Chaplain School in Newport, Rhode Island.

Deciding to apply to the U-M SSW was easy. “I realized that as a chaplain one of my job functions would be counseling military personnel and their families.” Logan is grateful for the experience and received inspiration from Professors Kathleen Faller, Bill Meezan, and John M. Wallace, Jr.

Logan was accepted for active duty in July 2001 and checked aboard the USS Belleau Wood in San Diego, California, six days after the September 11 tragedy. His wife Letricia, one of his greatest supporters, joked, “You chose a fine time to go on active duty!”

The following June, Logan became part of Operation Enduring Freedom, deployed on a western Pacific cruise. He conducted three worship services and six Bible studies per week, providing “a momentary oasis for our sailors and Marines, who were encouraged spiritually and through them were better able to cope with the stresses that are inherent in a deployment.”

Lieutenant Logan’s present deployment is with the 3D Marine Aircraft Wing, fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. “Chaplains are key advisors to the command on various areas pertaining to religion, ethics, morale, and welfare of the service members,” Logan explains. He also holds worship services, gives religious instruction, helps with crisis interventions, and assists with death notifications.

Logan’s social work training has helped him counsel individuals in many areas, including marriage and family, grief, military life, and suicide prevention and intervention. “The clergy is the field most related to social work,” Logan believes. “In fact, the history of social work began in the churches, with orphanages and helping the needy.”

Although military life is challenging and he misses his wife and two small children, Logan has found chaplain work to be the fulfillment of a dream. “Chaplains are expected to visit the troops in their work spaces. This is the part of my job that I love. It gives me great joy to help make a difference in the life of someone.”

—Tanya C. Hart is editor of Ongoing.

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