New Executive Director
Decorated Veteran, former POW and Longtime Chaplain Brings Lifetime of Experience to Position
[Arlington, VA] Chaplain Robert Certain has been named as the Executive Director of the Military Chaplains Association. Dr. Certain came to national attention in early 2007 when he led the funeral services for President Gerald R. Ford. Since then he has acted as an advisor to the Secretary of Defense while a member of the Defense Health Board and the DoD’s Task Force for the Prevention of Suicide; and to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on the Advisory Committee on Former POWs In this new capacity, he will be the organizational leader and primary spokesman for the “Voice of the Chaplaincy.”
Chaplain Certain laid out his plans to the MCA executive committee during the selection process. “All of us – active duty, reserve component, Veterans Affairs, Civil Air Patrol, former and retired – simply must lead this nation to develop better care for warriors and families. Even though the scars of two wars and deployments have left their mark this past decade, the present and real challenges of suicide, sexual assault and poor resilience have little correlation to extended trips to the theater of operations. Our chaplains in uniform are active in addressing these issues head on as they serve our men and women in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Those of us no longer in uniform need to mobilize our civilian faith communities to receive veterans into their congregations, to utilize their strengths and gifts, and to heal their unseen wounds. We have a crisis in our Military family and the Chaplaincy must lead the charge on addressing this crisis,” said Certain.
Chaplain Certain is no stranger to the seen and unseen wounds of war. As a young Air Force officer he flew 100 combat missions over Vietnam as a B-52 navigator, was shot down over Hanoi. He spent the waning months of the war as a POW. Upon repatriation, he attended seminary and was ordained by the Episcopal Church. He served on active duty and in the reserves as a chaplain in the Air Force before retiring in 1999 at the rank of Colonel. After a brief recall during Desert Storm, he was assigned as the Senior Reserve Chaplain at the Strategic Air Command, then at the Air Mobility Command, and finally at the Air Force Academy. Wearing his civilian attire, he served parishes in Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arizona, California, and Georgia, and has retired from that work to accept the challenging leadership of the MCA.
The Military Chaplains Association was chartered by Congress in 1925 as the “Voice of Chaplaincy” and is open to chaplains now serving or having served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Veterans Affairs, or Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol chaplaincies. Associate members are from among chaplains from other departments or agencies than those listed above, chaplain assistants, religious faith group leaders, and others interested in supporting Warriors and chaplains through the ministry of the Association. The mission of the MCA is to support the religious freedom and spiritual welfare of our Armed Services members, veterans, their families, and their survivors by addressing their spiritual, moral, and religious concerns in our magazine, web site, op-ed articles in prominent newspapers, speeches to civic groups and faith communities.