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Commander Charles Rowley Gives Heartfelt Address to VSRA Membership

The December General Membership Luncheon was held on Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at the Portsmouth Renaissance Hotel. The guest speaker for the luncheon, Commander Charles "Chuck" E. Rowley, Chaplain Corp (CHC), USN, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Deputy Command Chaplain, addressed the VSRA membership with a heartfelt discussion of his time as Special Project Officer at Dover Air Force Base in 2009 where he spent 30 months assisting over 750 Navy and Marine families that had just learned that their loved one was now one of our nation’s Fallen Heroes.

Commander Rowley is originally from Portsmouth, Virginia and now lives in Chesapeake with his wife, Denise Haughwout Rowley. They have been married 34 years and have two adult children, Patrick and Megan. Chuck earned a BA from Virginia Wesleyan College and a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Seminary at Wake Forrest.  CDR Rowley is an ordained United Methodist minister of the Virginia Conference and served as a local church pastor for 18 years before entering the Navy as an active duty chaplain in 1997. 

He served as Command Chaplain for NMCB-1 and was forward deployed to Rota, Spain; Bosnia; and Guam while with the Seabees.  His next tour took him to Charleston, SC as base chaplain at the Naval Weapons Station. He was then detailed to Carrier Air Wing Seven at Oceana, where he deployed to the Persian Gulf with the George Washington Strike Group. 

Following that tour, Chaplain Rowley went to the reserve side, but was almost immediately recalled to assist Hurricane Katrina victims along the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans.  During his 18 months along the coast he drew extensively upon his training in Critical Incident Stress Management, Crisis Intervention, Domestic Violence, and Suicide Awareness and Prevention as he helped several thousand military members, active and retired, during the recovery effort.  As he left the coast to return home to his family in Virginia Beach, he was offered orders to Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth to launch the Navy’s new program “Safe Harbor” to assist critically and severely injured Sailors and their families returning from the war. 

In June of 2009 Chaplain Rowley joined Combat Logistics Battalion 46 in preparation for a seven month deployment to Iraq.  Upon returning from Iraq in February 2010, Chuck was hand selected to serve as the Special Project Officer – Dover Dignified Transfer, working for the Deputy Chief of Chaplains. Over the next 30 months he assisted over 750 Navy and Marine families that had just learned that their loved one was now one of our nation’s Fallen Heroes.

Chaplain Rowley was selected for the Navy’s Funded Post-Grad Advanced Pastoral Care Program and moved to San Diego in August of 2012.  Upon completion of the CPE Program  Chuck moved back home to the Hampton Roads area as a Staff Chaplain at Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth with primary responsibilities of caring for those dealing with Combat Stress/ Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as victims of Military Sexual Trauma. 

CDR Rowley loves to sail, play racquetball and tennis.  He enjoys volunteer work and has lead several teams to assist in the construction of churches in Mexico, and the complete renovation of a 6,000 sq ft shelter for battered and abused children in Guam.  Additionally, he is licensed as Class A General Contractor in Virginia

Chaplain Rowley’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 Gold Stars), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2 Gold Stars), Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation Medal and numerous other personal awards.

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