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Interview with Mark Andrew Jumper [4/25/2007]

Ellen K. Bassett:

This interview is taking place on April 25th, 2007 at the Cook Memorial Public Library in Libertyville, Illinois. My name is Ellen Bassett, and I am speaking with Commander Mark A. Jumper, a U. S. Navy Chaplain who served aboard the USS Leyte Gulf during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Reverend Jumper was born in 1954 and currently resides in Waukegan, Illinois.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Mark, what year did you enter the military?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

In 1982.

Ellen K. Bassett:

In 1982. What were you doing at the time?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

I was a student in Seminary, and I entered the Chaplain Candidate Program in the Navy.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Okay. So, that was a decision you made? You knew you were going to enlist?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Well, I used to be very interested in, and still am, in military history. I majored in history in college. I had in high school a mail order War Game Company. I designed and sold some historical simulation games by mail...mostly World War II, but Texas Revolution and things like that. So, I had this military interest, but God had directed me into Seminary to be a Minister. But one day, there was a sign on the board that said a Chaplain would be coming to talk about the possibility of being a Chaplain. When I saw that sign on the bulletin board, that was like a voice from the blue speaking to me, saying, "You should look into that." So, I started doing that around 1980, and everything came together. I raised my hand and took the oath in January of '82.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Was there a reason you picked the Navy or just because that’s what was available there at the time?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

It’s what worked with my heart. Where my heart was, was with the Navy. I’d been in the Navy Sea Cadets back as a junior high guy. So, I think I got some enculturation there but I was always interested in the sea. Now a guy in Lubbock, Texas--I don’t know how that comes to be or like Admiral Nimitz down in Texas. Of course in Texas, you can see the great horizons. The sea does that to you. Everyone said, "You should join the Air Force." I was afraid of being stuck in a ship with all of these smokers around me and clouds of smoke. So, I signed up for the Air Force. I put it in the mailbox, and it didn’t sit well with me. I was at a church as an intern at the time, and it just didn’t sit well. Everyone said, "The quality people are in the Air Force." Finally, I went out to the mailbox and took the letter out and opened it up, and this was an endorsement letter for our church to endorse me as a Chaplain. I crossed out "Air Force" and checked "Navy", and then I had a peace in my heart. So, that’s what it was.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Good for you. Once you enlisted, did you have to finish your schooling? Did you go off to basic?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes, I finished my Seminary education, and then they send you to the Chaplain Basic course, which at that time was seven weeks. It’s eleven weeks now, but it was seven weeks at the time. So as soon as I graduated from Seminary, I went to my new church in Mississippi and got ordained and became installed as the Pastor. I was there about three weeks, and then I went to Chaplain School in Rhode Island for seven weeks and got trained basically as a Chaplain. Then I served as a Reserve Chaplain with the Marine Corps out of New Orleans for the next three years.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Oh. Well, now in Chaplain...I guess it’s Chaplain Basic Training, what kind of things do they teach you? What do you work on?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Two basic things--I got to close my career at the Chaplain School, so I got more insight into it there. The two basic things: Number one, how to be a Naval Officer...how to wear the uniform, how to use the system and work within the system, how to go onto a ship, how to salute, how to work with the chain of command...all those things. That’s number one...it’s Naval Officer Indoctrination. Recently at the Chaplain School, we started just sending people to Officer Indoctrination School, which I think is far better, because they are actually getting indoctrinated as Officers with other Officers and getting real Navy training instead of--.it was real, but it was the Chaplain School training us to be an Officer. And then the other thing that they train us in, is how to apply your ministry within the military context. So first, how to be an Officer and a Chaplain, and number two, how to apply your ministry throughout the Navy.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Once you’ve finished with that, from there did you go back to your church?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes. And I will share my first story of ministry while I was at the Chaplain School.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Please do.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Of course, I was what’s called a Butter Bar, an Ensign. That’s the lowest form of Officer in the Navy.

Ellen K. Bassett:

A Butter Bar?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes, because it’s gold.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Oh.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

It’s fat and gold.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Oh, okay.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

An Ensign in the Navy is below most anything else except a new Seaman or something. Even though, technically, you’re above all the enlisted ranks. But, I’m wearing a cross, and so I went into what’s known in the Navy as a "head", which is a restroom. This was in the Personnel Support Detachment area where people deal with your personnel records. It’s a very frustrating place for many military people because military records get so messed up. So, I went in there. There I was standing at the urinal next to this grizzled Second Class Petty Officer. He looked around as someone used to surveying all about him as if he were on watch on the bridge or something, sort of with a sneer on his face and saw the cross on my collar and as soon as he saw it--we’re both standing there at the urinals--he said, "I’ve had it with these Officers! They can’t do this to me anymore!" He just exploded with this frustration that he had. By this time we were done, and I said, "Well, I hope things get better for you." I picked myself off the floor and basically said whatever I could to help him. And he went on his way, and he seemed to feel better for having vented with me and shared that, and whatever words I said. Out of that, I learned a couple of things. Number one, you have to be ready at any time. You have to be a Chaplain every minute, because people will approach you 24 hours, anytime, no matter what you’re doing in the military. They know you’re a Chaplain, so I came up with my own motto, eventually, that "I’m a Chaplain every minute." And, of course, the second thing I learned from that episode was--.I’ve always heard that Chaplains were a relief valve in the Navy, but I never knew so literally.

Ellen K. Bassett:

It’s a good thing you learned that so early.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes.

Ellen K. Bassett:

It’s a great story.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

I told that at my retirement.

Ellen K. Bassett:

I bet they enjoyed that. That’s a wonderful story. From there, you said you went back to--?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Back to Diamondhead, Mississippi on the coast. I was a Pastor but was also in the 4th Marine Division and did exercises with the Marines and combat combined arms exercises at Pensacola, or in the desert at Twentynine Palms, drilling, going out into the field say at Easter, with Marines camping in the field and giving a service for them. So, learning a lot about the Marine Corps and the Navy, taking various courses, traveling around the Marine Corps and seeing different bases, and just learning as I went.

Ellen K. Bassett:

How long were you--you were active reserve? How long were you active reserve?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Three years. Although the technical term for it in the Navy is inactive duty, but that means you’re actively in the reserve. And my final experience was at Twentynine Palms Desert combined arms exercise, and I was Superman Chaplain. I went around the desert trying to help anyone I could find, whether they were in my unit or not. When everyone was smart enough to rest in the heat of the day, I was trudging between fox holes. I was probably the most active person physically out there. At one point, I finally got heat stroke. So, a Senior Chaplain, who was also a friend of mine, came to me and said, "By your not pacing yourself, you deprived your unit of Chaplain services for several days while you recovered and that was your fault. We don’t need Supermen, we just need Chaplains." So, that lesson really helped me when just three months later, I found myself living in a tent in a creek bed in South Korea in very harsh conditions on Active Duty. I really had learned that lesson at Twentynine Palms of pacing myself, and therefore being available all the time.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Now, you’re in Korea. What was that for?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Well, when I went on Active Duty, I got two week’s notice to go on Active Duty. I had known for some time--I had applied--and had known for some time that I was going, but you can’t say that you’re going until they send you your orders. It’s not going to happen until you see the orders. The orders finally came, and they said you’re to be on Okinawa in two weeks. Leave your civilian life and job, and I managed to negotiate that up to three weeks. So, I showed up on Okinawa with the 3rd Marine Division. I had been crazy enough to volunteer for the 3rd Marine Division because I had a friend, a Catholic Priest, who was also a Chaplain in my Reserve Unit, and we had been roommates together back in Chaplain School, and so we decided to both volunteer together for 3rd Marine Division so we would know someone. As it turned out, we did both go to 3rd Marine Division on Okinawa within a few weeks of each other. This was at the height of the Reagan build-up in '85.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Okay, that was my next question is what year that was.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes.

Ellen K. Bassett:

In '85. How long were you there then in Korea?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

I was in Okinawa, which was our base, for a year. It was a one-year tour. I spent about three months of that in Korea--three different deployments. That was a profound experience--living with the people in the field, camped out, moving around. These were exercises that were meant to keep us in preparation against the North Koreans--Operation (?), Operation Team Spirit as they were known. These were sore points with the North Koreans, but we felt we had to do it in order to remain prepared. We tore around the countryside in our amphibious track vehicles and our tanks. That was my unit was tanks and amtracks and jeeps with missiles. We basically did that for a few weeks.

Ellen K. Bassett:

So a year, you’re over there and then after that--

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Then I went to Bethesda Naval Hospital. A couple of interesting things there were--one, was the first wave of AIDS patients. When I was in Okinawa, the first HIV testing took place in the military. If someone came up positive, they were brought in for an interview with all of the big-wigs in the Battalion. The poor person would come in, and there would be the Commanding Officer, the Executive Officer, the Command Sergeant Major and the Chaplain. That’s a rather forbidding group of people for a Marine to walk in on and then to be told that he had tested positive for HIV. We immediately, within 24 hours, made them disappear from the island. They were evacuated immediately. This is right at the beginning. Not everything was known about it. It was thought these people were highly dangerous to everyone else and so they were made to disappear immediately. This included some Officers and including some people in the Medical Corps. That was our first response. When I got to Bethesda, Bethesda was the sole point--maybe the one in San Diego also...but we received all of the AIDS patients at Bethesda. Of course, in those days there were no drug treatments like there are today. I basically worked with end-stage AIDS patients as well as those who had just found out about their diagnosis. It was a great privilege to be their friend. To see them waste away was a horrible thing. I would wish that death on no one. It’s just--the person goes to skin and bones. I’ve held an AIDS patient in my arms the night he died. It’s just a horrible thing. But I count it my privilege to be their friend and to be asked by some to be their special mentor or counselor. We had others who had to room with them and we had quite a lot of reaction that they didn’t want to room with those homosexuals or with those AIDS patients. Of course, we had to insist by then it was non-communicable, and they had to room with whoever they were assigned. But this was a major, problematic issue at the time.

Ellen K. Bassett:

How long were you at Bethesda?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Just two years.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Two years. Okay.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Also, I was on the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute. They did research on what happens if service members are put in a radioactive environment, if they face nuclear weapons. Are there some drugs we can give them that will increase their resistance to radiation? Actually, there are some that can be given to help them remain a little bit more functional. The experimentation was on animals. We had an animal (?) committee and did research. So, that was fairly fascinating, too.

Ellen K. Bassett:

That is. You’ve done quite a bit so far. From there--.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Then off to Guam--

Ellen K. Bassett:

Guam?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes, back to the Pacific.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Okay.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Navy Family Service Center. I worked with Ombudsmen who--.Ombudsmen are the Family Representative between the Command and all of the families. One person, always a lady in those days, and generally so today, would be elected to--actually chosen by the Commanding Office to be the point of contact between the Commanding Officer and the families and to help. So, there were 40 Ombudsmen on Guam with 40 different Navy Commands. I was their trainer and mentor and supervisor and helper. Then I went to the Naval Air Station at Guam after that. I was a year at each place. The reason I left the Family Service Center is because the bill had died. The Detailer had sent me there--the Detailer is the Assignment Officer in the Navy...not knowing that the bill had died. So I was in a billet that didn’t exist anymore. As soon as they could find a place to put me, I became the Command Chaplain at the Naval Air Station at Agana. There we had a helicopter squadron that embarked on ships. And one day when Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait--this was near the end of my tour--I was supposed to give a pre-deployment briefing to the wives of the pilots and crew of the helicopters who were going off. But when Hussein invaded Kuwait--we had these Maritime pre-positioning ships that always sailed around Guam. They have all the equipment to keep a Marine unit functional for 60 days, 90 days, whatever. You could always see these ships sailing around Guam. So, when Hussein invaded, the ships disappeared. They were gone, of course, to the Middle East. The pilots deployed early in the helicopters on the ships. So I went to give this pre-deployment brief, but the pilots had already left. So, it was no longer pre-deployment. It was in deployment. I had this little spiel that I went through--a little outline. Of course, it was all OBE, as we say in the military-- Overcome By Events. I just took the outline and threw it up. The Executive Officer, who was a real cut-up, said, "Throw it down, Mark!" So, I just took the pieces of paper and threw them all on the floor, and everyone cheered. Then we got down to brass tacks and business. Our family members, our pilots, our air crew have deployed already, and it looks like there’s something serious happening over there. So, what are we going to do as families to deal with that? So, that’s one of the last things that I did on Guam.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Guam--you said you were there two years?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes.

Ellen K. Bassett:

And this brings us up to what year?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

'90.

Ellen K. Bassett:

1990?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes, August of '90.

Ellen K. Bassett:

When did you deploy to the Persian Gulf?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Well, in October, I went to Mayport, Florida--Jacksonville area--and was assigned to USS Leyte Gulf, which is an Aegis Missile Cruiser. The Aegis Cruisers had not had Chaplains up until now. They had started design life as Destroyers and Destroyers don’t have Chaplains. They’re too small. But the Aegis Cruisers, midway through the design, they realized their capabilities. They had a revolutionary new radar system called "Aegis" and missiles and torpedoes and guns, an extremely formidable ship. So, they were re-designated Cruisers. But because they had been designed as Destroyers, they had no Chaplains. During the Iran/Iraq War and the shooting war that occurred around ’86, '87 and the re-flagged Kuwaitee tankers that the U.S. worked with, the Captains of the Aegis Cruisers started to call for Chaplains. They said, "We want Chaplains." One of the things about Aegis Cruisers is they were very technologically intensive. Some would say that the technological factors had outpaced the human factors. One of the things that happened then was that the Cruiser Vincennes, by accident, shot down an Iranian Airliner in the Persian Gulf in ’87, '88, somewhere in there. That, combined with the Captains of the ships asking for Chaplains resulted in the Navy programming that Chaplains would now be assigned to Aegis Cruisers, which was a remarkable institutional statement because these cruisers had been built on Destroyer hulls, and then the Navy crammed all this extra equipment and weaponry into them to the extent that Jane’s Fighting Ships, which is the authority on Navies of the world, said that the Aegis Cruisers were among the most cramped ships in among all the world’s Navies. So for these cramped ships with very little living space--.for the Navy to say we’re going to add two bodies, a Chaplain and a Religious Program Specialist, was a rather significant statement of the need. I had the privilege--I guess it was just luck of the draw. I was the first Aegis Cruiser Chaplain in the Atlantic fleet to be on one of these ships. So, I came onboard in October. It was very new. They were not used to having a Chaplain. I had never been to sea for an extended period. With the Marines, I had been on ships and lived on ships for a week at a time or something being transported to Korea, but I had never been embarked as a crew member. So this was all new to me. It was all new to them. Right in the middle of that, we were to go to the Persian Gulf. We were scheduled to leave on December 28th. We went ahead and did that for a six-month cruise. We were already programmed years in advance. At the time, the Navy did that. We left on time, but we immediately knew we were going to war. So, we made a high-speed transit of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Once we got out of the Suez Canal--this is January...we made a top speed three-day transit from Suez to the Persian Gulf. For Navy ships to go top speed for even an hour is highly, highly unusual. It gulps fuel like crazy. To do it for three days without stopping is just unheard of. Of course, Saudi Arabia was paying for all of the oil that we used during that war. It was free gas, so-to-speak. The engineers were just in heaven. Their ship could go top speed well over 30 knots for three days running. They were just in heaven. They had never gotten to do such a thing and probably never will again. So, we got to the Persian Gulf still in time for what was called Operation Desert Shield before the actual shooting war started.

Ellen K. Bassett:

It sounds like you were there on the tail end of Operation Desert Shield?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Were you involved in any combat? What is the job of a--?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Well, an Aegis Cruiser’s job is to provide Air Protection and Air Management for a Carrier Battle Group, including the aircraft. Our missiles basically form a 200 mile diameter bubble around the Aircraft Carrier Battle Group. Anything that enters that bubble should be stopped by us well before it reaches them by the standard ground to air missiles that our ship has. That’s our job is to protect the carrier, basically. Now, before the Persian Gulf War, it was said that the Persian Gulf was too small for a carrier to operate. We put four aircraft carriers operating in the Persian Gulf during the War. War makes things happen. They operated in a race track, basically. They were going in a circle all of the time, because the Persian Gulf was so small, so the four carriers were always basically going in a race track pattern following each other in a circle, to be there and operate.

Ellen K. Bassett:

So, the job of the USS Leyte Gulf was to provide support for these aircraft carriers.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes. We did not get a Combat Action Badge. Although they say if an Aegis Cruiser--in order to get a Combat Action Badge, you have to be fired upon by the enemy. We have a saying that if we ever actually came under enemy fire where the bullet struck us, we would have failed in our mission. There was a case where the Iraqis managed to fire a Chinese Silkworm Missile. The British ship in one of our battle groups was the one that shot it down, a Veteran of the Falklands War. So, it was sort of embarrassing that out of all our might the Brits got it. Another time, we were escorting a carrier that launched some of its missiles and thought it was under attack. Two times we thought we were under gas attack. Once the censors said that we were under gas attack, it turned out to be a false reading. People thought they were going to die. One fellow was stuck outside the skin of the ship and was locked out, because you have to lock up whether everyone makes it in. If someone is stuck out, they’re stuck out for the good of the crew. He didn’t make it in time before the doors shut, and then the chemical wash down systems started on the ship. The ship has a series of pipes all along the exterior. It’s a sprinkler system, and it just starts pumping water all over the ship to wash any chemicals off. As he stood there locked out of the ship, the wash-down systems started. He just knew at that point, he figured he was going to die. I’m convinced later that he suffered Post Traumatic Stress from that. I didn’t know anything about PTSD at the time. I only learned about it in later years. I’m convinced now that as I think back to his life a year or so after that incident, I’m convinced that’s what he had. People were stuck without their gas masks. One guy couldn’t find his gas mask. So, we had some--a shot we were supposed to give ourselves with a nerve agent (?). He just got to the shot that he did have and stuck himself, and he was hyper for three days. Three men came down with no masks, and they were breathing hard and their faces were very red. Without thinking I reached out my arm to them, and one of their shoulders--through the safety of my gas mask, I’m thinking, "It’s going to be alright." (speaking in a nasal tone) Then I realized what I had done. So, then I started to think of the four famous Chaplains of World War II who gave their lives, gave up their life jackets. So, then I started thinking, "Well, which of the three should I give my mask?" But at that moment, the Command Master Chief came and he said, "I know where some masks are." And he took them to get them. I didn’t have to decide. I had a line, all night--both of the incidents occured around 10 to 12:00 p.m., and basically I had a line outside my door both times for the rest of the night. People just wanting to talk, and they had been very scared and wanted to talk about it.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Was that probably one of the toughest things you had to go through?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

For me, it felt very natural. I felt like I was ready for them and ready to help them. I felt a great calm. You never know how you’ll react when you face danger. I’ve been a skydiver, so I was used to--.I guess you could call them life or death situations. Although I think driving down the road is not a lot different. Every moment on the road if you were to move just a fraction of an inch the steering wheel you could be in a--..but we don’t think of it that way, because we’re used to it. I felt a great calm and peace. My faith in the Lord was real strong. I felt very much ready to just be with them and help them.

Ellen K. Bassett:

That sounds like a very dangerous situation even though it turned out to be a false alarm. Are there any other situations like that?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Several things. Of course, Saddam had released the oil in the water, and he set the oil wells on fire. So, the air was very thick and dirty with oil matter. We basically had to seal the ship with duct tape in order to keep as much as we could out. We designated just one hatch aft and one forward that you could go in and out of the ship, and all the others we actually taped up because the air was so foul. Of course, the oil in the water would also foul the water exchangers for cooling the engines and so forth. So, we had to be very, very careful of the water we went into. Basically, we tried not to get outside the skin of the ship because of the bad air. Our exercises and so forth had to be inside the ship on the machines. We were at sea something in the region of 80 days without touching shore. We were on the ship 80 or 90 days before we finally got a rest. Also, the Iranians had to be considered as potentially hostile. The shore of Iran is very rocky and has a lot of cliffs on it. Of course, that’s on the eastern shore of the Persian Gulf. Iraq is sort of on the north side. So, we didn’t have just Iraq to worry about missiles, we had Iran. If Iran were to fire a missile, because of the ground clutter and because of the cliffs, even our Aegis radar would have a hard time picking it up. Basically, they could hit any of us. From the time the missile left the Iranian shore and could be picked up over the water, it was a two-minute warning. For the ship to go to battle stations was about five down to three minute drill--if you got four minutes where all the water-tight doors of the ship were closed and everyone was at their battle station anddressed for battle with their gas masks next to them and so forth. Four minutes was pretty good. We got it down less than that, but four minutes would be pretty good. Five would be typical. Yet, the missile would have just two minutes from detection until it hit us. Basically, you could be hit by a missile and not even be ready for it. We basically lived under that two-minute threat for about six weeks, when we considered it to be an active threat. We also had--there were mines in the water. Iraq had extensively mined the Persian Gulf. So, we did extensive drills on what happened if we found ourselves in a mind field and how we would back up or what happens if a French-built exocet missile came at us, what could we do to evade it? Not much, but there are some things we could do to distract it or evade it. Many, many, many drills and many, many, many conferences and trainings at night to deal with these threats. One of our sister ships, the Princeton, did strike a mine, actually I think two mines and just about broke the back of the ship, but she didn’t sink. One of our supply ships also struck a mine. We were very aware that at any moment we could strike a mine, and the ship could go down easily within minutes of striking a mine. Those were the dangers.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Considering all of that, was there a very high stress level on the ship?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes. Yes. We dealt with the stress in different ways. I was the news officer for the ship. We could not get TV news. We didn’t have satellite dishes. Those came just two years later. There was no email in those days. You just had military messages, message traffic. Because of the heavy operational traffic, there was no band-width to send news releases to the ships--very rarely. They would be sporadic that we had gotten news. So, what our ships radio operators took to doing is they would record the BBC news. By the way, in the meantime, we started hearing about how CNN in Baghdad was filming the Tomahawk missiles that we fired and how it was almost like they were going down the street and looking for an address and turning. This was just considered miraculous at the time. No one had ever seen these Precision-Guided Munitions, the PGM’s. This was really the first war in which PGM’s were extensively used, and it was an eye-opener to most of the public. So, CNN was a big part of that, and everyone felt like they were just right into this war because they had CNN. Well, we who were there, we weren’t seeing any of that. We were in the war, but we felt like we missed it in a lot of ways. We felt like we hadn’t seen what happened. We were just in our little ship. We missed the war. Later, we got videotapes of CNN and we sort of caught up a lot. But in terms of the way people back in America saw it, we had much less information than people back in America. So, what I did with the BBC broadcast, I took a cassette recorder just like this one practically, and I physically transcribed it on my computer. I wrote out whatever they said on the BBC and then I read it over the ship’s--well, we posted it. It became the ship’s newspaper, and then I also read some of the news releases over the ship’s radio. We had ship radio programs, if you will, that were transmitted just within the ship. I became the broadcaster to the newsreader.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Wow.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

We also did things. We had a chili cook-off. I have some pictures of that-- people bowing to the great god, Chili. That was an evening’s entertainment. Another time we had a contest, and I admit to being the instigator of this--a Mrs. Saddam Hussein look-alike contest. Of course, you have to remember this is an all-male ship. This is before females crewed combat vessels. So we had probably 15 or more contestant teams, and it was a talent show. They had to dress in drag or whatever. Some of them had (?) news of people serving them and so forth, and they would sing a song, a silly or bawdy song of some sort. So the Captain and the Master Chief chose the winner, and the winner was Saddam-me Hussein. It wasn’t politically correct, but it was hilarious. I confess to being the Master of Ceremonies of the whole event. And I put on a particularly gaudy suit, and we spent a day doing that.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Those are wonderful, though. You gotta’ have fun.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

We had beer days. I think if you were at sea 40 days, the Navy would allow you to have two beers. It would be a beer day. They had brought all of the beers out, and every Sailor could come and get two beers. Of course, trading went on--those that didn’t care for beers. They would get their two beers and trade them. That would be pleasant and of course the thing is, you didn’t want to be out for two beer days because that meant 80 days at sea.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Well, that’s good. I’m glad you were able to have some fun. That was actually one of my questions is what you guys did for fun. I’m curious, though. You mentioned a chili cook-off. Where would you get supplies?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Well, supplies were wonderful during the war. We had the best supply system going. Of course, we would get underway-replenishment, or unrep as it’s known, from other ships, and that included--.it was such a multi-national force. I mentioned the British ship shooting down the Silkworm missile. We got underway replenishment from an Italian ship and from an Australian ship. It was completely international there. But the supply system was so highly developed. We had the best of fresh food, down to salads and so forth. Mail. I think the record for a physical letter getting from the states to us, we may have gotten it once in five days. And seven days was not at all unusual to get a letter from the states. The normal time for deployment like that is maybe you’ll get a letter two weeks old. Of course, this is all before email. The system was so directed to serving the huge build-up of forces in the Persian Gulf that it was working beautifully. So, we had good food.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Oh, that’s good.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

The classic comic strip, I think it was a Doonesbury, where it showed first some people in the desert eating sand, basically with their food. Then it shifted to a scene from the ship, and one of the Sailors said, "Chief, could you turn the thermostat down a degree or two? It’s a little warm." It many ways, we had it good.

Ellen K. Bassett:

I’m wondering also in terms of your living conditions, and the amount of space you had on the ship. You mentioned that you could work out on the ship?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes. And again, the ships were designed before the fitness revolution really. You just had to find spaces to put your equipment. They were just crammed in little nooks here and there. We had one space that had a couple of treadmills, and another space up forward just under the Captain’s cabin that had a stair-step, a rowing machine and a bike. Then there were some free weights scattered here and there, mostly in the helicopter hanger. You just did as you could.

Ellen K. Bassett:

How many men were on the ship?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

400.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Oh!

Mark Andrew Jumper:

430 or so, including the Air Detachment.

Ellen K. Bassett:

So you were busy. It sounds like you were also the Entertainment Director.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

In some ways, yes.

Ellen K. Bassett:

So, after about three months, your tour of duty was done there in the Persian Gulf?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Along the way, we fired some Tomahawk missiles as part of the campaign-- both day and night. I watched those go off in person. It was pretty awesome. Then we heard they hit their targets and did well. But after all was said and done, we did get to go to UAE, United Arab Emirates and walk on dry land and get some restaurant food. A lot of service members will testify when they’re overseas to the "Not Quite Right Syndrome"--NQR. Things are just a little bit off. For instance, we were in a lounge in the UAE and there was a piano man singing Billy Joel, but he was Arab. And so he was singing. "Bye-bye Miss American Pie." (using middle eastern accent) It was just a little bit off, a stranger in a strange land.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Were you awarded any medals or citations?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

I got a Navy Achievement medal for supporting the crew during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. A lot of people on the ship got medals, but I did receive that medal for that, for about a six week--END OF SIDE A

Ellen K. Bassett:

BEGINNING OF SIDE B Mark, you were telling me about the awards you had--some of the awards and citations you had received. Mark: During the Desert Storm, I received the Navy Achievement Medal. A lot of people on the ship were awarded medals and things for actions including--our ship was a missile-firing ship, firing Tomahawk missiles onto Iraq into targets there. The men did a really good job, and there were many awards. The Navy really started giving more awards starting with Desert Storm. Not so much that the standards changed but just that the operations of the Navy intensified during the '90’s following the end of the Cold War. Yesterday we had a visitor in our church, Chaplain Bob Lance, who is a retired Air Force Chaplain, and he’s married to a Navy Chaplain. She’s been to Iraq once in an aircraft carrier and once with the Marines. He said for his thirty years, he had three rows of ribbons. She’s only been in for seven years, and she has a lot more than he ever got. And that’s typical. At the end of the Cold War and in Desert Storm and onward, people have gotten a lot of awards. They read something like a curricula vitae. Those who know a service’s awards--you can look at someone’s ribbons and see the story of their life and where they’ve been and what they’ve done. That’s a very interesting thing. I like to wear all my ribbons. I have five, six, seven rows of ribbons, but I call them my reminders of my shipmates, because they’re things that we did together. You’re allowed to wear just the top three, but the top three--the top row--is just the personal awards you’ve gotten like Navy Achievement, Navy Accommodation, Meritorious Service. Those are things that you’ve earned, but the ones below, are the things that a unit has earned together. So, when I wear all the ribbons--.it seems like to me if you just wear the top row, it’s just self. But if you wear them all, it’s your shipmates. I wear them--Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, which is something, and maybe the Marine Corps people get, for having been deployed a certain amount of time in the Navy--six months--and the Marines have slightly different rules. Then you get a Bronze Star on it for each additional time you earn a ribbon. So, I got three of those, and so I have the ribbon with two Bronze Stars. I like to think of the two Bronze Stars as my wife, Ginger’s, two brown eyes. Because the first one is when I was in Desert Storm. We had fallen in love, and she wrote me everyday--183 letters for the deployment. We didn’t have email in those days. I asked her to marry me two weeks after we got back. Then later our ship went on another six-month deployment to the Mediterranean, and of course, she was very faithful to write. Our first anniversary was celebrated while I was in Sicily. The ship had been kind enough to keep a piece of my wedding cake in the ship’s freezer, and Ginger and I each ate a piece of wedding cake at the same moment, allowing for time differences, separated by an ocean. Then she with 40 of the wives flew over to Paris for Christmas. We did have Christmas in Paris together for the next deployment. So, I see the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon--.I put that as Ginger’s two brown eyes. I got that. I pretty much got your typical awards along the way that Chaplains get these days. Along the way, I did get some special recognition. I was chosen as the first ever Coast Guard Chaplain of the Year. I think that was in '97. I was nominated for Navy Chaplain of the Year twice. Out of the 1,000 or so Chaplains, there are 10 or 12 nominees. I was one of the 10 or 12 nominees two times. In my last three assigned commands, I was either nominated or received the award in each of my last three commands. It covered about a 10 year period.

Ellen K. Bassett:

That’s fantastic. That’s great. I think we had gotten you up to where the war was over, yet you were still--you didn’t come home. You were still out at sea.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes. We went to the Red Sea to do Multinational Interception Force Operations, MIFOPS. We love acronyms. Our ship’s boats had to go inspect all commercial ships going into Jordan and Israel so that no contraband would get through to Iraq. We had a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Attachment on our ship to assist us, because the Navy is not able to do certain things legally in terms of boarding ships and all that without Coast Guard supervision and expertise. The Coast Guard helped us very much, trained our boarding teams. I feel like there was a lot of ministry to the boarding teams, because they thought they were in a fair amount of risk or danger when they boarded. They never knew what they would face, and also a lot of the ships were just filthy and dirty. You’d turn over a mattress, and a whole bed of cockroaches would come out. It was rather rigorous and nerve-wracking duty for those who did it. That was a good ministry to the people. I would talk to them when they came back. I’d say, "How you doing?" Along the way, one of the ships that they inspected was a ship that had been, the way I understood it, it had been hijacked by a couple of Kurdish men, and they were trying to escape Saddam. So we took them into custody and didn’t know what to do with them. We didn’t have a brig in the ship to keep prisoners secure. We put them in the aft torpedo room. The first night, the Captain and the XO went back to interview, not interrogate, but interview them. Meanwhile, the crew was bringing back candy and chips and food back to them. They were very well cared for and welcomed by the crew. But they were in custody and limited to the torpedo room. Just as the Captain and XO came back, it was time for the Chaplain’s evening prayer to come on at 8:00. It’s a Naval tradition that at sea, usually at taps, which is at 10:00 p.m., the Chaplain gives a prayer over what’s called the 1-MC, the Public Address System of the ship. The prayer is just a general prayer for the well being of the crew and in what we’re doing. In our ship, we did it at 8:00 instead of at 10:00. The Chaplain’s word would be at 8:00. Then the movie would start. It was on the ships TV transmission, the cable channel, if you will. So that’s how we did it on our ship. So right at the moment when the Captain and XO came down, I came on and gave the evening prayer. Of course, I had no idea that they were down there. So, the Captain and the XO stopped and bowed. When they did that, the Kurds began crying out and got on their hands and knees and crawled over and grasped the Captain and XO’s ankles and were crying out. It turned out, as we tried to figure out what had happened, the Kurds thought they were about to be executed and were crying out for mercy, because you have a little prayer before you perform the execution. That’s the way if you’ve heard of these horrible execution videos that the terrorists have put out, they will go through a little ceremony or something, and they’re saying, "God is great. God is great," even as they prepare to lop off the head. This is what they’re familiar with. So when they bowed for the prayer, they figured that was the end. Once they were brought to their feet and calmed down, they were finally made to understand that we were not going to execute them. No one in the command structure could figure out what to do with these Kurds. It was a very unusual situation, so we ended up having them on board for several weeks. Of course, finally, when we completed our MIFOPS in the Red Sea, we went through the Suez Canal. Of course, the Egyptians are there. We had to keep the Kurds below, because we could not allow them to be seen on the deck. It might have caused an international incident or something. Finally, when we got into the Mediterranean--.and noone wanted the Kurds. We tried to give them to one of our supply ships that had a brig, but no one would take them. Finally, though, we did found someone with some authority to take them off our ship. We heard through the grapevine that the Kurds did eventually get asylum in the U.S.

Ellen K. Bassett:

That’s really a pretty funny story. Anyway, shortly after that, the ship came home?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Yes. Homecoming was a marvelous thing. It’s funny that our ship’s scheduling--..in those days ships had a very rigid schedule, predictable schedule for deployment. We spent about a year and a half, two years in working up to your six-month deployment. It was all set out years in advance. Even when you came to a ship, the enlisted crew was assigned for five years. They pretty much knew when they would be deployed. Of course, that all exploded with the end of the Cold War, the predictability and so forth. We were on a standard six-month cruise. It just so happened that going out to Desert Storm conformed perfectly. We went out, did the job, won the war, did some extra things, did some exercises in the Med, and came home exactly on the day that had been planned years before on June 28th.

Ellen K. Bassett:

That’s unusual.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

It is. Some others were not so blessed. When we came home, it was extra special. There was a news crew there. There was a tug boat shooting colored water in front of us, and extra family members came. It’s hard to describe what that means to people coming home, to receive this warm welcome. We had already been buried by supportive mail, the Dear Abby Write to Any Soldier or Write to Any Sailor Program. We had tons, literally tons, of mail on our ship. The crew all loved going through this mail and feeling the support of the American people. It made such a difference. When the Desert Storm people came home, there was a ticker tape parade in New York. For us, we got home somewhat later, but nonetheless, we were made to feel very special. When I got to the airport back in St. Louis to see my family--it so happened my father had emergency brain surgery. They almost brought me home early from the ship a day or two early. It wasn’t quite that urgent, and we got through the homecoming. So, I got Ginger, my girlfriend at the time who I later married, and we flew to St. Louis and there greeting us at the airport were some signs. And again, the feeling it gives you is so wonderful. Then we got home, and there were more signs stretched across the homes. This public affirmation of who you are and what you’ve done, really helped. I think it was maybe more than we deserved, but I think that America was making an apology for Vietnam. It seems to me that it was commonly known what had happened to the Vietnam Veterans, including being called "Baby Killers" and being spit upon, which has been documented. And America decided corporately, maybe it wasn’t said explicitly, but "Next time we’re going to do better." And we were the first ones to come along to be the beneficiaries of that national decision. We really felt it. What an amazing feeling it was to be affirmed and welcomed. It’s just hard to describe. It meant a lot to us, and it was felt very deeply.

Ellen K. Bassett:

It was well-deserving. From there, I had read that you had designed and implemented this Warrior Transition Program, which is still working today.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

It was more-or-less integrated into the units of the Marine Corp now.

Ellen K. Bassett:

It’s a very impressive program. If you could just kind of explain a little bit about that.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

I have been involved in the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is involved with what’s called Critical Incident Stress Management, CISM, because you frequently deal with dead bodies, what are known as Critical Incidents, and very horrendous types of situations. For example, when the young lad was rescued in the Caribbean whose mother died in the ocean, and there was a huge, public tug of war: Should he be returned to Cuba and to Castro? And eventually he was. I performed a de-brief for the crew that found his mother’s body, which was very bloated and so forth. I’ve been involved--. Chaplain’s serving with the Coast Guard are involved with that to a greater or lesser extent. Miami is very active in terms of Coast Guard operations in the Caribbean. I had a lot of involvement there. The Chief of Chaplains had asked me to go up to Groten, Connecticut and open a new CRADO operation, which is a retreat operation that Navy Chaplains run with the idea that I would start some new programs. After I had been there less than six months, 9/11 occurred. We put together a program for 9/11 responders, people who had worked the Pentagon tragedy site and people who had notified loved ones that their service member had been killed or wounded. I ran several retreats for those folks. Then the Chief of Chaplains asked me--he had just been the first Flag Officer to be Chaplain of the Marine Corps. Actually, he was Chaplain of the Marine Corps at the time he asked me. It was Chaplain Iasiello. Chaplain Iasiello asked would I put together a Warrior Transition Program for the Marine Corps. So, I used my Coast Guard experience and some reading that I had being doing with Jonathan Shay and Victor Davis Hanson and a fellow that wrote a book on killing and put a program together that would help Marines, Soldiers, Sailors look at the changes that had taken place in them. Most return reunion programs have to do with getting yourself adjusted to home again and how home has changed and not to take over the family too quickly because the family has been operating on it’s own without you for six months. But this was a completely different program that instead of getting you adjusted to home, was asking you to get adjusted to you, to yourself, to stop and say, "What has happened inside of me because of the experiences I’ve been through?" We started with some Marines who had been in Afghanistan. A Chaplain I saw was trying to get me to Afghanistan. We had started to arrange flights, but then the Marines were very quickly replaced by the Army at that time. So, the Marines were gone before I could get there. Instead, I went to Camp Pendleton and provided the program for the very first time to some Marines who had been in Afghanistan. They said they liked the program, but you need to give it to us before we get home. So, next I went out to Australia and provided the program for some Marines coming home from the Middle East. They had lost a couple of their number to some terrorists at a training camp in Kuwait. Some gunnery Sergeants had actually had side arms, and it was like a Wild West shootout. They pulled out their side arms and killed the terrorists. I had a chance to give it, and again it was well received. We got good surveys back from the Marines. About 94-96% thought it was a positive thing and it should be given to other Marines. We next arranged to go with the impending invasion of Iraq. At first I was asked to be present--I had made a proposal that I be present with my team, just behind the advancing troops, so that when they went offline behind the lines that we would be available very quickly. At one point, I got word "we want you in Kuwait in seven days." We began to say our goodbyes, very solemn goodbyes with our family because at the time we thought we were going to be gassed. It seemed Saddam was in a corner. He had no compunction of using gas in the past with his own people, or any other WMD’s that he might have. So, we really believed that was going to happen to us. Then the plans changed as they frequently do in the military, and they said, "Wait until after (?) before you go over." So, I ended up going a couple of months after the invasion with my teams. We were in a rear area in Kuwait, and as Marines came through, we provided the program. It’s about a 90-minute program. We model for them talking about their experiences. One of the things with World War II Veterans and Korean Veterans is that many of them never talked about their experience. Of course, you don’t just go spreading this around everywhere in public, but the people back home would really appreciate knowing some of your experiences. First of all, in order to do that, you need to process the experience and talk about it with yourselves because service members give informal debriefs with each other all the time and that’s what reunions are about, by the way--very popular with military people. But the formal debrief was helping to give them some information and some modeling on how to do that. So, we would give them some information about what has happened to them, things they need to work with , for instance, if they dehumanized the enemy. It’s like one Sergeant Major said to me. "But, Chaplain, we have to dehumanize the enemy in order to shoot them." I said, "No. You need to desensitize yourself. Part of the training that has occurred since Vietnam which is in the book on killing is that we have to desensitize our people. You can’t think that I’m shooting a father and a husband. You have to think I’m shooting a target, using the National Authority and that we’re in a just war and so forth. But if you dehumanize, you say, "That person is less than human." That person is just a raghead. That person is a gook or something. Jonathan Shay, who I had the privilege to have as a consultant, in the formation of our program, and he actually came and spent a day with our team members. He talks in his book about that this results in the destruction of your character. I also found in my research that it can be tactically dangerous. If you dehumanize the enemy, then you’re not giving them credit for being human, and they may surprise you with their tactical acuteness. Operationally, it’s very foolish to dehumanize the enemy. You really must really give them credit as humans. This is in full accord with all of the Geneva Conventions, just practices in war that international law stipulates. It’s actually very wise operationally to not dehumanize the enemy. Also, in terms of protecting your own soul, your own character. It’s found that dehumanization is very corrosive to your own character and so we said if you have participated in dehumanization, that needs to be admitted and worked at, and it needs to be renounced in your own heart. You may need to do some things in your life to compensate, to rehumanize not only the enemy but yourself. I had a retired Army Colonel in my Navy Chaplain Dallas, Texas at the air station. He had been in a World War II unit, that fought--a division under Patton--that fought a particular German Armored Division. He said, "Every time we fought them, they’d whip our butt, because they had better equipment. Their tanks were better than our Sherman tanks." But because of numbers and momentum, we pushed them back all the way across Europe. We fought this unit many times. In the end, that unit surrendered to us that we had fought many times. And in later years, those two armored divisions-- the German and the American--started having reunions together. They would take turns. One year they would meet in America, one year they would meet in Germany. This was the most fascinating thing to me, the humanization because basically, service members on both sides, if they’re smart, they hold each other in great respect and do not hate each other. They’re very curious about each other. As soon as the war is over, they’re curious to talk with each other. This is a way of bringing about some crucial links in the healing of the people. Our program worked on some things like that. We had the opportunity to provide the program according to what the citations said for me from the Chaplain of the Marine Corps. Either our team directly or the ones that we had trained provided the program for about 80,000 Marines after the Operation Iraqi Freedom Invasion. There was some controversy. Should be, as outsiders to Marine units, provide the program or should we train unit Chaplains? Of course, the old rule is, "A Lawyer is his own worst Lawyer. A Doctor is his own worst Doctor." Someone who has been through these experiences, while he understands the experiences from the inside, say the unit Chaplain, may not be able to get enough distance to work with it. We always say that in Critical Incident Stress Management the debriefer cannot be someone who is involved in the incident. However, it was eventually decided that because of the trust level that Chaplains have with their Commanders and because of the experience they’ve shared, we went ahead and trained unit Chaplains to give the program. Some did it well. I’ve seen it done extraordinarily well. Some did it very poorly. They just read through the program and really had no idea of what was going on. That’s true in any endeavor. Some people get it, and some don’t. One way or another, we wanted to provide a way for the Marines to begin to work through this. Perhaps it can have some role in preventing or lessoning PTSD. I worked with the head psychiatrist of the Marine Corps and also the psychiatrist for Camp Lejeune in the formation of my program, did some consulting and gained their permission to do such a program in conjunction with the Combat Stress Management that they’re doing.

Ellen K. Bassett:

That’s just a wonderful thing, just wonderful. Before we finish up, are there any other things you’d like to add or any other final thoughts on your career as a Chaplain?

Mark Andrew Jumper:

I think being a Chaplain is one of the greatest privileges you can have, the access you have to people’s lives. They see the cross, or if you’re a Rabbi, the tablets, or if you’re a Muslim Chaplain the moon on your collar. This gives them permission to speak to you. You have complete confidentiality with a Chaplain, and that’s a tremendous gift. The Chaplain is able to go through the work spaces. You’re considered to be part of the unit and its operation. Our ship at one time performed what is known as special operations with Green Beret and Seal type people on our ship. We’re allowed to say that we had the operation. It’s still classified as to what the operation was. It was shared with our families and so forth. Just moving among the people as they prepared to enter a combat situation--.that is a high privilege to be with the people before, during and after risky operations, and everyday operations. The place of trust that you have and the place of trust with the Commanding Officer. Once, coming back from a Mediterranean deployment, and you received an operational engineering inspection...a team comes on board to see how well your engineering plan is on the ship. The Captain had some worries that it wasn’t going well. He came in my office and shut the door and said, "Chaplain, I need you to pray for us to pass this inspection." I said, "Well I sure will, Captain." Then he sank to his knees. I took this as my cue that I should sink to my knees, too. Sort of like the King of Siam in the King and I. So, I got down on my knees with the Captain, and I prayed for him right there. And we ended up passing the inspection, and our ship ended up getting the Battle "E", meaning the best ship among Aegis Cruisers in the Atlantic fleet. And our ship won that award three years in a row. All of the Captains--.by the way, that won the Battle "E", which is just extraordinary for a ship to win it three cycles in a row, amazing. They all honor the Sabbath. The Navy stipulates that the Sabbath shall be celebrated on Sunday. That’s just because America is the majority 80% Christian. It’s not approving it as a State religion. It’s just recognizing realities. The church pennant which is here on my wall here--that’s a Navy pennant and it’s the only thing that is ever allowed to be flown above the American Flag. When divine services are being held at sea, this pennant is flown above the flag as a sign that we are under God. So, that’s a high privilege. These Captains made sure when they could that we celebrated the Sabbath. Sometimes you can’t turn down underway replenishment or vertical replenishment from helicopters. But if they could, they did. They didn’t allow training meetings or planning meetings. We had what’s called a steel beach picnic, which was a BBQ on the helicopter flight deck. When I wear those Battle "E’s" on my ribbon set, and I say this is a testimony to the power of the rhythm of the Sabbath. Some Captains would say you can never stop, you have to go 24/7 365. Never stop and never stop. And basically, those crews get exhausted. We demonstrated that you could observe the Sabbath in so far as operationally possible and still show excellence. I call the Chaplain’s uniform an incarnational artifact. As a Christian I believe that Jesus came down and took on flesh, and he was fully God and fully man. And I always tried to be fully a Naval Officer and fully a representative of my faith, too. Fully a Chaplain and fully a Naval Officer and to be God’s person for the people in the service, I call it the Chaplain con carne. In Texas where I come from, they have Chili con carne. Con carne meaning from the Latin, "in the flesh". I tried to be God’s person in the flesh, someone down there with them. The word Chaplain comes from St. Martin of Tours who gave his coat or chapeau to a soldier who didn’t have one. The word Chaplain comes from that word chapeau or coat that was given to that soldier. Just to be down there with them to experience what they experience, and to be subject to the same discipline and structure that they are. I miss my family just like they miss theirs. To be God’s person with them, that’s an inexpressible privilege to have. I shared at my graduation speech--.when I retired at my retirement ceremony, I gave a retirement speech but I also gave a graduation speech at the same ceremony to the graduating class of new Chaplains. I told the story of my first experience of ministry. That was when I was a basic Chaplain student. I went into the restroom, the head as we call it in the Navy, went up to the urinal, and there was a Second Class, grizzled Petty Officer, and as he looked around he’s just used to keeping the watch on the bridge. He’s always looking around. He looked over as I stood next to him, and saw my cross. Right there standing side by side, he just exploded and said, "I’ve had it with these Officers! I’m not going to take it anymore!" He went on in this vein. This was in the Personnel Service Detachment. Sometimes it’s very frustrating dealing with Navy bureaucracy. By now we were finished, and I tried to wish him well and hoped things got better for him. He went off, and he seemed to feel better because he had talked to a Chaplain there standing at the urinal in the head. So, the two lessons I learned from that. First, that was my first ever experience of ministry in the Navy. Number one, that you have to be a Chaplain every minute. People always feel free to approach you, no matter where. It came to be that whenever I went to the military Commissary, the grocery store or the exchange, which is the department store, I just came to expect that I would always have a ministry contact because it always happens. I would have some little conversation and they would say, "Oh, Chaplain!" If I was assigned to the base, even if I didn’t have my uniform on, they know you’re a Chaplain. Every time I would be approached by someone and have some sort of ministry. I developed the personal motto of, "A Chaplain Every Minute". Now the Military Chaplain’s Association says you’re a Chaplain for life. You never stop being a Chaplain. The other thing I learned from that incident is I’d always heard that Chaplains were a relief valve in the Navy, but I never knew it would come so literally. So it’s a great joy to share people’s lives. I applaud our nation for making room for Chaplains. It’s a model that many other nations now want. We are the leaders. I think we’re forming a model for maybe what America could do, that we can allow religious expression in a way that is respectful of all beliefs. We have cooperation without compromise. I don’t give Jewish services or Muslim services. I don’t know how. I’m not Father Mulcahy. The image of the bumbling Chaplain who basically does all religions, is completely false. It would be an insult to Jews for me to try to do a Jewish service. I don’t know how to do it. Even if I did, I’m not a Jew. But it is my job to provide for all my personnel, including the Jews, including the Muslims, to find something for them. I had a book ministry in Miami. I would get Christian books for Christian Coasties. So, I opened it up to other faiths. I said, "If you’re another faith, I’ll get something equivalent for you. I had a Muslim Coastie, and he said, "I’d like a prayer rug." So, I found a website that offered prayer rugs and in the same cost range as what I was providing for others, for Christian people, and got him a prayer rug. It’s to provide for all. We minister to our own and provide for all. I think that’s a great model. The formerly communist nations have been approaching us to give them models for how do we start Chaplaincies in our armed forces. It’s a world-wide movement now, and I think a very helpful movement to humanize the militaries and to keep us all when we do engage in war, to do it in ways that are just and proper, just practices in war according to the international treaties and so forth. I think it’s a wonderful trail-blazing effort. Chaplains pre-date the Constitution. Our first Navy Chaplain was on a Navy ship in 1778, and Congress authorized the Navy Chaplaincy the Continental Congress in 1775. Even before the Declaration of Independence, the Congress authorized Navy Chaplains, and we consider that our birthday. I think it’s just a wonderful institution, and we pray to continue to be valuable to our people, value added. If we’re not value added to our people, we’re not worth it. I believe we will continue to add value to their lives for many years to come.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Well, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Thank you.

Ellen K. Bassett:

I also want to thank you for everything you have provided for our Country, your service.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

Thank you very much, Ellen.

Ellen K. Bassett:

I believe Chaplains will continue to go on.

Mark Andrew Jumper:

I pray so.

Ellen K. Bassett:

Yes. Thank you. POSTSCRIPT: Mark Jumper retired from the Navy in August 2006 and is currently the Senior Pastor of Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Libertyville, Illinois.

 
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