MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI -- Marine Aircraft Group 12 recently received a new command chaplain and assistant command chaplain to serve the spiritual and religious needs of Marines and Sailors here.
The two new chaplains are Lt. Cmdr. Arthur Brown, command chaplain, and Lt. Peter Fremont-Smith, assistant command chaplain.
Brown arrived Aug. 8, and Fremont-Smith has been on Station since Oct. 12. Although they have only been here for a short time, the team has been quick to develop a plan to better serve the ready group.
"We are hoping to put together a religious program that supports the religious needs of the service members on deployment," Brown said. "We want to be there for the guys who are away from their families."
Because MAG-12 is the ready group, the chaplains want to ensure the Marines are not only ready physically and proficiently, but also spiritually ready for anything that may lay ahead in their lives, Fremont-Smith noted.
The two come from very different backgrounds, but their experiences in helping individuals spiritually are an asset to those who look for help in their company.
Brown is no stranger to the military, having recently served aboard the USS Saipan (LHA-2) with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Mediterranean cruise last summer. He has served in the Chaplain Corps since 1989 and understands the needs of service members away from home.
"Command religious programs are probably the same no matter where you go," Brown said. "They are modified based on the environment you are in."
Although Brown brings with him his knowledge of the military, Fremont-Smith brings experiences of a different nature.
"I was in Italy for eight years before this as a missionary priest," Fremont-Smith said. "This is my first assignment as a military priest. I feel blessed my first assignment is with Chaplain Brown."
Both chaplains are warning residents now that they do not plan to stay in their office. Rather, they will be out in the work centers to dispel the rumor that the only time chaplains are seen is when they are bringing bad news.
"We will be out and about with good news," Brown said. "We are here to serve everybody," Fremont-Smith added. "It doesn't matter what religious preference we have."
The chaplains said their job is their life and their door is always open any time of day should anyone need help or someone to talk to.
The "Dynamic Duo," as they call themselves, has already brought religious services to the Marines on the Northside of the Station, and have big plans to increase spiritual readiness even further.
"We are always stressing to be ready physically, but we are not just physical beings," Fremont-Smith said. "We are also spiritual beings with a soul. Don't forget about the spiritual needs of your soul. Take care of it."