VA Chaplain observes future veterans on aircraft carriers

A VA chaplain’s experience aboard a Navy aircraft carrier gives him additional tools to provide comfort, support, guidance and education to the nearly 200,000 veterans enrolled in the Dallas Virginia.

Chaplain Patricia Roberts’ distinguished two-day visit invitation gave her a unique perspective of the modern active military force, their duties, their sacrifices, and how to contribute to their needs as future veterans and VA healthcare users.

Chaplain Patricia Roberts

“I have a new appreciation for the young men and women aboard these ships,” Roberts said. “I was especially impressed with all of the female sailors I saw on the USS Nimitz, which is the fastest growing population of veterans seeking service in VA healthcare. The experience was very intense and revealing. It is one that I will never forget. »

Chaplain former nuclear intelligence officer

As a soldier and former nuclear warfare signals intelligence officer, Chaplain Roberts never expected to set foot on a floating city with 5,000 sailors tasked with projecting air power around the world.

As Dallas VA Chaplain Service Chief, Roberts recently had the good fortune to do so as a participant in the highly selective Naval Air Force Distinguished Visitor Embarkation Program aboard the USS Nimitz through Naval Air North Island station.

The Navy’s Distinguished Embark program gives leaders in the civic, educational and business communities a rare glimpse into life aboard an aircraft carrier. Roberts joined legislative representatives, city council members, business leaders and educators for a two-day adventure complete with exclusive tours of daily life, flight operations and rides in Navy C-2 aircraft. and CMV-22B.

“I had not heard of the program before being appointed, but I was very honored to have been selected to see and learn firsthand how the Navy contributes to the security of the United States and our allies. worlds,” Roberts said.

“I wish I could invite all Americans to join us at sea.”

The mission of the program is to foster awareness and understanding of the Navy, the role of transport aviation, and to demonstrate the high level training and quality of sailors ready to meet the needs of the nation.

“While we would like to invite all American citizens to join us at sea to watch their Navy in action, that is not possible,” said Vice Admiral Ken Whitesell, Commander of the Naval Air Force. “We hope those who have been invited to board will share their experiences with others and educate the public about the Navy’s global missions.”

For Chaplain Roberts, a special memory of the adventure was a photo of her on the bridge with Captain Craig Sicola, commanding officer of the USS Nimitz.

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