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Stevenson, Neil M. (1930-2009)

Rear Admiral, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy (Retired)


Based on seven interviews conducted by Paul Stillwell from February 1988 through March 1990. The volume contains 346 pages of interview transcript plus an index and appendices. The transcript is copyright 1998 by the U.S. Naval Institute; the interviewee has placed no restrictions on its use.


In telling of his life and career, Chaplain Stevenson made it clear that he wanted to contribute more than just a collection of sea stories. As a result, he emphasized more than a dozen issues while doing the telling. One point that he made repeated was that members of the Chaplain Corps should emphasize institutional ministry rather than limiting themselves to parish ministry. Stevenson was born and reared in Brooklyn and got his undergraduate education at the small Tarkio College in Missouri. He later got his religious training at Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary. He began his active Navy service as a student in 1957 at Chaplain School in Newport, Rhode Island. Subsequent duties were at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, with Destroyer Squadron Ten, at Naval Station Newport, on board the aircraft carrier Saratoga (CVA-60), and at Glenview, Illinois, Naval Air Station. In the late 1960s he was a postgraduate student in at Princeton Theological Seminary, then was involved with the Personal Response Program in South Vietnam. In the early and mid-1970s he was in the training division on the staff of the Chief of Chaplains, a student in the Chaplain School advanced course, senior chaplain at the Naval Training Center, Orlando, Florida. He served in 1976-77 on the staff of John O'Connor, Chief of Chaplains, and provides some superb observations on O’Connor’s style and achievements. Stevenson was subsequently Fleet Chaplain, Pacific Fleet/Chaplain, Naval Logistics Command Pacific Fleet, Deputy Chief of Chaplains, and served from 1983 to 1985 as the Navy’s Chief of Chaplains. In his post-retirement years he worked as a civilian pastor.


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