Service members pledge their lives to the service of others; while some serve their country for a few years proudly and then move on as civilians, some devote their entire lives, others pay in blood and go home physically or emotionally wounded, while some give their lives. Chaplains are service members who work to take care of those who are called to serve, it’s their job to reinforce the spiritual mettle of those who spend long months away from home and deal with the daily stress that comes with holding a spot with the world’s crisis response force.
Lt. Cmdr. James Myers, a Pennsville, N. J., native, devoted his life to the service of God, Corps and his country, and has always worked toward supporting and taking care of others. Throughout his 36 years of service, Myers never stopped being a leader to his congregation or to the Marines under his guidance. He’s currently serving as the chaplain of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and continues to lead and teach those around him.
“When I was a cadet at the Citadel, I got to see the different branches of service,” said Myers. “My father was in the Navy and my uncle was a pilot, but I didn’t know which branch of service I wanted to be a part of until I met with all the different branches.”
Myers could have followed the example set by his father and joined the Navy, or let his love of aviation move him toward the Air force, but unexpectedly Myers felt compelled to join the United States Marine Corps.
“I noticed something different about the Marines,” said Myers. “Marines are a different breed, and I was really impressed with the way the officers and staff non-commissioned officers cared for those under them; actually taking the time to understand them, getting to know them personally, and with that, building the bond that separated them from the others.”
Myers set his mind on being a pilot after deciding on joining the Marines. Myers graduated and became a Marine aviator after getting the opportunity to go to flight school.
“I loved every minute of my time being a pilot,” said Myers. “Sometimes it was hard to believe I was being paid to do the things I was doing.”
During his time as a pilot from 1981 until 1987, Myers was passionate about taking care of Marines. After leaving the Marine Corps, he remained passionate about taking care of others and felt called to serve in a different manner. This time from behind a pulpit, he worked as a pastor for 12 years influencing and bettering the lives of those around him.
“In 2008, my wife introduced me to a Navy article about the need for chaplains,” said Myers. “I prayed about it, and thought it through and ended up calling the recruiter. He said there was a place for a guy like me. So in 2008, I came back into the service with the Chaplain Corps.”
Myers got a chance to see the world and experience a whole new side of the military while working on multiple deployment rotations.
“I always loved getting to be a part of something like this,” said Myers. “The MEU is as good a snapshot of the military as you can ask for. It allows Marines and Sailors to see almost all of our core components working together in unison, and it can be a real learning and growing experience for all those involved. I couldn’t be happier being a part of it.”
Myers always goes above and beyond his call of service. With men and women like him watching over the Marines and Sailors with the 15th MEU, our service members will not only be physically and mentally ready for the upcoming deployment, but spiritually ready and resilient to take on any and all challenges they may face.
By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jacob Pruitt
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