I could not disagree more with the idea of phasing out military chaplains (“Phase out military chaplains,” April 16).

My experience as commanding officer of two warships, service aboard five other Navy ships and numerous overseas deployments of six-plus months brings to mind many instances of the value of embarked Navy chaplains.

I will share one very personal example. Some years ago, I was captain of a Charleston-based destroyer spending a mid-deployment port visit in Barcelona, Spain, over the Christmas holidays. A temporary USO was set up in the city so crew members could phone home.

On the day after Christmas, many of the crew who had duty on Christmas were in the USO calling home.

Tragically, a few terrorist cowards decided to throw grenades into the USO before fleeing. One shipmate was killed and several others were wounded, some critically.

This Protestant CO will be forever grateful for the immediate counsel, assistance and comfort our Catholic chaplain provided me and my entire crew. I cannot fathom how a chaplain not on-site could have met the needs of my crew.

JACK MARTIN

Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired)

South Hampton Drive

Charleston