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'Crossed rifles for the Cross'

Lance Cpl. Meghan J. McNabb, 2nd Marine Logistics Group

MARINE COPRS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (March 11, 2008) – Navy chaplain Calvin B. Gardner performs his first baptism as a Navy Chaplain in Kuwait, during November 2007, while deployed with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. Gardner served as a supply Marine for twenty-one years before entering the Navy as a chaplain. Gardner now serves as a chaplain with Combat Logistics Battalion-22, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.

MARINE COPRS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (March 11, 2008) -- Master Sgt. Calvin B. Gardner spent 21 years in the Marine Corps before he decided to move on. Most Marines may have chosen to take a break from a life in the Corps, looking back at their accomplishments on a well-deserved vacation. Gardner joined the U.S. Navy.

Gardner currently serves as the chaplain of Combat Logistics Regiment 22, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, in an environment dear to his heart, here at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The Chaplain Corps seemed a natural choice for Gardner who has been a licensed preacher since 1988.

Gardner said he spent twenty years as a bi-vocational pastor and base chapel layleader in Nebraska, Virginia and Japan, and most recently served as Senior Pastor of Bibleway Evangelistic Church International in Okinawa, Japan.

“I have always been involved in church,” Gardner said. “I was an active duty Marine, a father, a husband, a student and a full time preacher.”

Before entering the Chaplain Corps, Gardner earned his bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and biblical studies, several master’s degrees as well as a doctorate degree in Christian education from Andersonville Theological Seminary.

Besides his education, Gardner also has his experiences as a Marine to help him serve the Marines and Sailors of CLB-22.

Gardner was a supply Marine prior to his service in the Navy, and almost retired from the Marine Corps to become a civilian preacher. Gardner jumped at the opportunity to serve as a Navy Chaplain.

“I knew the Army would have taken me,” Gardner said. “I knew I could have joined the Air Force, but I didn’t want to serve with anyone but Marines.”

Gardner’s wife feels that his experiences as a Marine will help him serve the Marines in a different way.

“He’ll bring a lot of experience and wisdom with him as a chaplain,” Gardner’s wife said. “He’s climbed the ranks as an enlisted Marine, so when they come to him for help, he’ll really understand where they are coming from. He can really identify with them having been in their shoes.”

Gardner believes Marines may be more comfortable speaking to him knowing he is a former Marine.

“I’ve been an E-1,” Gardner explained. “I’ve been an E-2, E-3 and all the way up to E-8. I’ve been where they’ve been, I’ve done what they’ve done. I think that gives me an instant credibility when speaking to Marines.”

Gardner has loved his twenty-two years in the military and looks forward to continuing his service with Marines.

“I’m going do this ‘til my body can’t take it anymore,” Gardner said.

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