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Orlando native meets sailors' spiritual needs


A 1995 St. Vincent DePaul Regional Seminary graduate and Orlando native is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Carter Hall.

Lt. Diego Londono is a chaplain aboard the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship operating out of Norfolk, Virginia.

A Navy chaplain is responsible for taking care of the spiritual, religious and moral needs of the crew.

Londono_Diego“This is my passion and calling,” said Londono. “I've been doing ministry for 21 years and this gives me the opportunity to do pastoral care in a very specific setting. I understand not everyone is in my faith group, but my responsibility is to care for the needs of the whole crew. I want to be able to address any concerns they have and facilitate support. It really gives meaning and purpose to what I do.”

Commissioned in 1995, USS Carter Hall, is 610 feet long. The ship can travel at speed in excess of 20 nautical miles per-hour.

Carter Hall is one of four Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ships currently in service. The ships primary purpose is to launch equipment and personnel for amphibious missions.

Approximately 22 officers and 390 enlisted men and women make up the ship's company.

“The fact that we are on an amphibious platform is one of the things that I enjoy most about the ship,” said Londono. “Our mission with embarked marines and their gear includes a lot of support elements that makes our ship very unique. But really what makes this ship so unique is the crew itself working day in and day out, willing to sacrifice, and serving long watches and duty days.”

“Serving in the Navy means an opportunity to give back to the country that has given me so much,” said Londono. “When I moved to the states from Colombia, I moved with the idea to serve on the religious side of the house. I've met my wife and my kids were born here. After 16 years, I've finally become a citizen of the country. This country has given me so much, and this is a way I can give back and show my devotion for what America stands for. When we have morning or evening colors, or I hear the national anthem, it is again an opportunity to renew my sense of commitment to the country.”


U.S. Navy


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