Seal Team Navy Chaplain: A day in the life


By Lieutenant Clay+ Hamrick, Chaplain, United States Navy

I’m currently serving the men and women of Naval Special Warfare Seal Team Three in California. It has been very different from what I imagined, and when others find out that I serve a Seal Team, the first thing I am asked is if I must perform as a Seal Operator. Praise the Lord, I do not. Instead, God has given me opportunity to be a spiritual leader, counselor and advisor.

The underlying factor for any member of the team is TRUST. If they can’t trust you, they will not work with you. I am truly thankful that I have been able to make inroads by having authentic care and concern for the team that they can feel. It was initially challenging as it does take time to build relationships, and everyone stays busy.

I pray regularly for every person on my team and ask God each day to give me the ones that he would like me to interact with on a deeper level. In all things, God is sovereign, and he always has a few already prepared to hear the gospel. The great thing is that these gospel conversations happen in their workspace rather than in my office as I’m always meeting people where they are rather than waiting for them to come to me. Additionally, I ask each person whom I encounter how I can specifically pray for them, and about 90% are open to receiving prayer. Those interactions springboard into deeper spiritual conversations.

I’m a disciple-maker at heart and have a true passion for discipling other believers so they can in turn invest in others. I do this knowing the operators and support staff will be here after I’ve gone on to my next duty station, so I encourage them to disciple others, whether one on one or in small groups by doing what I’ve modeled.

At my last duty station, I was able to provide weekly Anglican services to a small congregation. Many enjoyed the liturgy and getting acquainted with the lectionary rhythm of the Christian calendar. Unfortunately, I have not been able to hold services [in my current station] as that is not part of my function here; however, I am asking God to move in a mighty way among the team while we are deployed, as I hope to implement a weekly service. Please join me in prayer for acceptance and for attendance by the team as well as their mental, physical and spiritual health. Additionally, pray for my wife and son while I’m deployed.

I am grateful to Bob+ Grant and Bryan+ Patrick for their steadfast prayers, encouragement and pastoral care. Our Anglican endorsers are like no others in the military. I’ve spoken to other chaplains, and the level of attention and care is not found in other denominations. My senior leadership can testify to this as no other chaplain has had their endorser visit with them. Praise be to God for them and AMiA.

Chaplain Hamrick completed his baccalaureate degree at Jacksonville University in 1999 and received his Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Jacksonville, Florida in 2011. He is an Anglican priest with the AMiA and was commissioned as a U.S. Navy chaplain in 2019. He is currently attached to Seal Team 3 in Coronado, California as the Command Chaplain supporting operators, support staff and Tactical Communications Command One, and NSW Group One Training Detachment. Clay+ is integrated as a part of the team to provide counseling, advisement to leadership, suicide prevention and spiritual resilience.