The primary function of the District Chaplain, whose office was established in the Eighth Naval District on 20 October 1943, was to supervise, inspect, advise, and make recommendations with regard to the duties of the chaplains of district activities under the Commandant. In the beginning, with new stations forming, the District Chaplain spent about one-third of his time traveling, supervising the establishment of new offices.
Together with his assistants (the highest complement of the office was four officers) he visited sick personnel and dependents of personnel, conducted personal interviews, and conducted or arranged funerals of deceased personnel. About 4500 casualty reports went through his office. He arranged divine services for activities and vessels without chaplains; and upon request he furnished Bibles, Testaments, prayer books, and various other religious materials.
An additional duty assigned the District Chaplain by the Commandant was acting as Executive Secretary of the Louisiana Auxiliary, Navy Relief Society, an agency which during the course of the war gave assistance in 3220 cases in the approximate amount of $153,000. Liaison was maintained with American Red Cross Chapters of the district, the New Orleans Council of Social Agencies, the United Service Organizations, Inc., and other religious, charitable, and relief organizations.
The District Chaplain filled many speaking engagements arranged by the Public Information Office. At the height of the production of materials he was sent by the Incentive Division to present awards to many manufacturing concerns.
From November 1944 to July 1945, a procurement campaign for Chaplains was put on in the district. Working in close liaison with procurement, the District Chaplain and his assistants made extended tours throughout the district and made many addresses setting forth the need of Chaplains. Various churches, ministerial associations, schools of religious training, and religious groups were canvassed. More than twelve hundred letters were sent out to ministers who were considered prospective candidates. When the campaign ended, approximately two hundred ministers had filed applications for commissions as chaplain through the District Personnel Office.
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