MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
After 30 years, three deployments, two children and countless interactions with Marines and sailors, Navy Capt. Ollis J. Mozon, Jr. has no regrets.
“Being a Navy chaplain has made me a better person-- one who recognizes the things that are most important in life,” said Mozon. “I’m blessed to have had this experience.”
Mozon, the Marine Corps Installations-West and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton chaplain, retired in a ceremony attended by his family, friends and fellow service members, at the Blinder Memorial Chapel here, Aug. 17.
As memorable as his military career has been, Mozon chuckles to think that becoming a Navy chaplain wasn’t his initial career choice.
Mozon started his undergraduate studies as a chemistry major and planned to become a Navy submarine officer, but felt the call to ministry before he finished his first semester.
“After I received my higher calling, I figured I wouldn’t be able to join the Navy anymore, but when a family friend told me about the Chaplain Corps, I knew it was a dream come true,” said Mozon. “I’d have the chance to spread the Gospel and serve my country at the same time.”
During his tenure as chaplain to close to a dozen Navy and Marine Corps units, Mozon provided a variety of services to those in his charge. In addition to conducting worship services, he helped address and overcome combat operations stress and marriage and relationship issues, as well as providing individual counseling for sailors and Marines in need.
Mozon also took part in an unprecedented leadership conference in the Horn of Africa, bridging communication between representatives from the Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist faiths.
“Working with religious leaders from every faith was a real eye opener, and definitely one of the coolest things I ever did as a chaplain,” said Mozon. “Even though we had different beliefs, we worked together for peace and the betterment of the community. It was an amazing experience.”
In his final speech as a Navy chaplain, Mozon thanked his family for their support throughout his career and expressed his love for being a representative of God in uniform.
“Being a witness for God and bringing encouragement to Marines and sailors when they need it, no matter where they are, has been my life’s joy,” said Mozon. “As chaplains, we have a calling and a duty to maintain the balance and be true to our faith.”
In addition to family and friends, Brig. Gen. Vincent A Coglianese, commanding general of MCI-West, MCB Camp Pendleton, was also on hand at the retirement ceremony to share his thoughts on Mozon’s three decade-long career.
“Although he retires today, Chaplain Mozon’s fingerprint will forever be evident on the lives of the Marines and sailors he touched during his times with us,” said Coglianese. “His career touched so many lives, and we are all better for knowing him.”
Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben, Chaplain of the Marine Corps and Deputy Chief of Navy Chaplains, was also on hand to speak on behalf of Mozon, whom she worked with while serving at the U.S. Naval Academy.
“Chaplain Mozon is a man who is grounded in scripture and has an absolute willingness to do God’s work,” said Kibben. “In the course of his Navy career, he has sailed and taught on big ships and small ships, but in the end, he has given us the best ship of all-- friendship.”