Chief of Navy Chaplains Louis Iasiello recently received the National Citizenship Award at the 81st National Institute of the Military Chaplains Association, during their Distinguished Service Awards Banquet in Memphis, Tenn. Lou was selected for this distinguished award in recognition of his pioneering work in the training and education of military chaplains, creating their first career professional development plan, and ensuring all military commanders are supported by chaplains who are able to capably advise them on moral and ethical issues of war, peace and personnel issues from a spiritual perspective.
Lou joins the ranks of a prestigious list of past recipients. Included on that list are well-known personalities such as astronaut and Senator John Glenn, Bob Hope, John Foster Dulles, Francis Cardinal Spellman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Stennis, Gerald Ford, Billy Graham, Sam Nunn, and, most recently, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Richard Myers. Lou is the first Chief of Military Chaplains to receive this national honor.
Lou has served as the 14th Chaplain of the Marine Corps and now as the 23rd Chief of Navy Chaplains. During his tenure in these two positions, he worked closely with faculty members from the United States Naval Academy to develop two intensive training courses that prepare Navy chaplains for their advisement responsibilities. These two courses were presented to nearly 1,000 chaplains worldwide over the course of three years. Modified versions of these courses have now been incorporated in the basic training for all new Navy chaplains, and will soon be included in courses for the development of senior level leaders in the Chaplain Corps. While stationed at the Naval Academy, he was instrumental in the creation of a Character Development Office and Ethics and Leadership continuum that are still in existence today.
Lou has continuously visited with wartime leaders worldwide – meeting and providing ministry directly to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and throughout the Middle East and Europe. His travels have played an integral role in not only helping him assess the need for training, but also in allowing him an opportunity to explain to Navy and Marine Corps commands the full contributions of chaplains in taking care of America’s sons and daughters in uniform. He will retire from military service next month, and will begin as president of the Washington Theological Union in July.
The Military Chaplains Association is an 81-year-old organization made up of active and retired military chaplains, faith group endorsers and friends of military chaplaincy. The Association is chartered by Congress and represents the interests of military chaplains to our nation’s leaders and citizens.