The Voice for Chaplaincy - Chartered by Congress - Serving Since 1925
Weekly Newsgram - December 5th 2018

Past President of the MCA Reflects on Memories of President George H. W. Bush

Herb Cleveland is a former Chief of Chaplains for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in Washington, D.C. He also served as the President of the MCA. 

He has many  first hand memories of the 41st President and First Lady Barbara Bush.

From time to time he would be called on to pray with Presidents.

Cleveland spoke with KOTA TV of Rapid City in June for a different story, about his career as a Chaplain. During that story he shared some of his memories of late President George H.W. Bush.One of those memories was being called on to pray with President Bush before a historic event.

"The prayer for the day of the invasion under President Bush
for the Middle East, and praying for the safety of our troops, and the advisors and those who were doing this tremendous effort," Cleveland recalled.

Cleveland says that he and President Bush were at events together on quite a few different occasions in Washington.

"He was very, very light, very gregarious I call it, and big heavy hand shake, ya know. And like to pat you on the back," Chaplain Cleveland remembers.

"Barbara was very much, 'Oh it's so good to see you' and 'Thank you for being here' and 'Let's go into the Roosevelt room' and 'Lets go into this room and we'll talk about something here'," Cleveland said of First Lady Barbara Bush.

Cleveland served under 3 Presidents. The late Ronald Reagan, late President H.W. Bush, and President Bill Clinton.

Monday KOTA spoke to Cleveland again, via telephone, and he said the late President Bush always had a great sense of humor, and that Bush combined his humility with his greatness.

KOTA article here

In Memoriam

President George H. W. Bush - TBF Avenger Pilot

During WW II Lt. (JG) George H. W. Bush was a young Naval Aviator flying TBFs off the carrier USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) in the South Pacific. On September 2, 1944 Lt. (JG) Bush, flying his 46th combat mission, was hit by ground fire while on a bombing mission over a Japanese-held island. Although he was able to bail out, his two crewmen perished. The future 41st President of the United States was rescued by the submarine SS Finback. Lt. (JG) George H. Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three air medals for his bravery during WW II.

  • Enlisted in U.S. Navy on his 18th birthday - June 12, 1942
  • Earned the "Wings of Gold" Naval Aviator Rating June 9, 1943 at the age of 18 years, 11 months, and 27 days
  • Qualified as carrier pilot on USS Sable August 24, 1943
  • Assigned to VT-51 aboard the new carrier San Jacinto CVL-30 as part of Task Force 58 in May, 1944
  • Doomed flight on September 2, 1944, while attacking Japanese held island of Chichi Jima he was shot down and lost his two crewmen: John Delaney ARM-3C, and Lt. (JG) Ted White, Squadron Ordinance Officer
  • Rescued by the submarine Finback SS-230
  • Returned to his squadron and flew twelve more missions, thereby totaling 58 combat missions.

Executive Director Notes
   I have just spent two days in New Orleans for a meeting with one of the groups which I have supported for several years. While I did not realize that I would be making a museum visit during some down time to learn more about military chaplaincy- and how MCA members can possibly provide support- that is exactly what happened.
  On Monday I walked over to the National WWII Museum to see the Pacific Theater gallery, which I had not seen since it was opened. In the course of experiencing the exhibits, the depth and breadth of support that Marines, sailors and soldiers in the Pacific received was clearly on display, to include a letter that was mailed from a front-line chaplain to the family of a Marine killed in action. In a time when there was no instant communication, it reflects the thought and care taken to draft such a letter to a family suffering an immeasurable loss. Around the corner was the photo of a Navy Reserve Presbyterian chaplain (as best as I could tell) conducting a field service, which appears to be very well attended. Having gone to the Pacific gallery with the intent of getting a better sense of what my Dad had gone through as a bombardier on a Navy PBY-5, it was not lost on me the irony of learning yet more about the critical role of chaplaincy at the front lines of the Pacific theater.
  At dinner that evening, as I was reflecting on my time at the museum, I was approached by a member of our group who had heard that I had been at the museum earlier in the day and had been more than pleasantly surprised at the chaplaincy exhibits. As it turns out, my colleague is on the Board of Trustees of the museum, and they are in the process of refurbishing a WWII chapel, and have been looking for support in the details of what that may have looked like, as well as any anecdotes for those sorts of ceremonies which may have taken place. And as is the case with the museum, that which is personal is always appreciated. The museum would certainly appreciate any of the treasure which our members might be willing to provide, they also need both talent and time to make this happen.
   If any of you who live in the New Orleans metro area would be interested in providing some time and/or talent, please let me know - preferably by - email so I can carefully collect your info and pass your names and contact info on to my colleague who is on the board.
   And as so often is the case which many of us experience, what I thought I was doing when I walked into the museum changed significantly after the fact!

Up to 1.2 million Military Retirees may be left without Dental Coverage - Act Now

The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) ends 31 DEC 2018 

The 1.8M TRDP enrollees will be eligible for dental coverage through OPM's Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), but must enroll during the 2018 Federal Benefits Open season, 12 NOV to 10 DEC--coverage becomes effective 01 JAN 2019. If TRDP enrollees fail to enroll into a FEDVIP dental plan during the 2018 Federal Benefits Open Season, they risk losing dental coverage in 2019.
The Military Health System and OPM have been conducting a comprehensive, worldwide communications campaign to ensure retirees are aware of actions they must take. However, the current glide path estimates that only 600,000 of the 1.8M TRDP enrollees will sign up for dental coverage by the end of Open Season (10 DEC), leaving 1.2M without any federal dental coverage come 1/1/19. 

It's not too late to make your benefit selection. FEDVIP enrollment ends Dec. 10. On-time enrollment avoids lapses in dental coverage and waiting periods for services. All the information you need is at

--This is also a great time to review your vision coverage and make changes as needed. Here are three factors to keep in mind as you consider your dental and vision needs before TRDP cover-age expires:
· Determine your needs and wants.
· Consider the total cost of your plan.
· Call your doctor's office or search for a provider.

--Wellness and prevention are the primary steps to maintaining good health and being properly insured can be foundational to preserving your wealth. To make your selections go to 

--And even if this does not affect you personally, please share with friends who may be affected. There is still time. 

Happy Chanukah

A touching story of how fighting Jewish-American soldiers in World War II celebrated the holiday on the battlefield.  Below is a story, from "GI Holy Days:  Jewish Holidays and Festival Observances Among the Armed Forces Thoughout the World," a miniature book published in 1944 by the Jewish Welfare Board.

The Jewish Marines had come back from the capture of Tarawa. They were encamped on an island in the Central Pacific, on a ridge 3,000 feet above sea level, tough, seasoned fighters, who had lived with death, and yet had not forgotten how to cherish the gentle things that belong to home.

Chaplain Jacob Philip Rudin had traveled the torturous, corkscrew "little Burma Road," to their mountain encampment to celebrate with them the festival that honors another group of valiant warriors against tyranny-the Maccabees. The chapel was a tent, sides rolled up, open to whistling mountain winds. The pulpit was a homemade table, covered with a blanket. There were no chairs. The men stood around in semi-circle. There were no electric lights. It was necessary to hold Hanukah services early, be finished before the sun went down.

Chaplain Rudin filled the menorah with the little orange candles, so that the barren pulpit would look less bleak. He lighted the Shammas [DS: the candle with which we light the others on the menorah; usually it is elevated above the rest] and the single candle for the first night of Hanukah. The men recited the blessings, sang "Rock of Ages" [DS: the Hebrew song, "Maoz Tzur," about G-d, which we typically sing after lighting the Chanukah candles each night]. The Jewish Welfare Board's Hanukah gifts were distributed.

The service and the daylight came to an end together. The Shammas and the single candle burned bravely against the encroaching night. "Then," Chaplain Rudin wrote, "a lovely and unexpected thing happened. As we stood there in the semi-gloom and I was finishing my talk, the wind blew through the tent and it set the flame flickering from side to side in the closely set rank of candles. And while we watched, the entire menorah was ablaze. I let it burn. It was as though we were sharing together all the eight days of the festival in one sudden, miraculous moment.

"It was night now but atop that distant mountain and in the midst of war, all the lights of Hanukah gleamed through the darkness and made it bright with their golden message of courage and faith and hope."

Change of Office/Retirement Ceremony


Chaplain Michael L. McCoy, Sr., Director 

National Director of Chaplain Service 
Past President Military Chaplains Association

December 12th, 2018 at 11:30 A.M. 

National Chaplain Center 
100 Emancipation Drive, Bldg. 33 
Hampton, Virginia 23667 

RSVP to Marvin L. Mills 
NLT 7 Dec 2018 

The holidays are approaching and you may be busy shopping for gifts, decorations, and more. Shop at, Military Chaplains Association of the USA, and increase our AmazonSmile donations. 

Simply click below - 

Visit our  website. There you will be able to update your contact information, joinpay your dues, make donationsfile ministry reports, contact our supporters, read The Military Chaplain magazine and otherwise connect to resources.

If you missed the November 28th  edition of the Newsgram  click here
SUPPORTING CHAPLAINCY IN AND OUT OF UNIFORM: Active, Retired and Former Chaplains of the  United States Army,  United States Navy,  United States Air Force, Department of  Veterans Affairs, and  Civil Air Patrol

AND THOSE THEY SERVE: military members, veterans, and their families  at home and around the world

The Military Chaplains Association of the USA
(703) 533-5890 | Email | Website