MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. – The Airman Memorial Chapel became the Airman and Marine Memorial Chapel during a rededication ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, July 12.
The original dedication of the chapel was in 1957 while the air station was a Navy installation.
After more than 50 years of use, Navy Cmdr. Bob Freiberg, command chaplain of MCAS Miramar and a Minnetonka, Minnesota, native, thought it was time to give the chapel an update.
“They were going to move us to a new building entirely,” said Freiberg. “I suggested that we put some much-needed time and money into the existing chapel so that we wouldn’t have to move just for more offices.”
With the help of Col. John Farnam, commanding officer of MCAS Miramar, and donations from local businesses, the renovations began.
“There are places on the base that are centers of gravity and the chapel is one of them,” explained Farnam. “It’s got a long history here and it was something we needed to put a little time into so we could draw attention to it again.”
Some of the many changes made to the chapel include a new baptismal pool, unit flags lining the walls and a new war memorial honoring the men and women from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing who have lost their lives since the beginning of the War on Terror in 2001.
Following the three-year renovation, Freiberg said it only made sense to rededicate it as the Airmen and Marine Memorial Chapel to reflect the people who are here now.
“Airman is a Navy rate, hence the original dedication as Airman Memorial Chapel,” said Freiberg. “There is no Airman rank in the Marine Corps so it only made sense to rename it the Airman and Marine Memorial Chapel to honor the station residents of today.”
Farnam mirrored Freiberg’s comments, adding the renovation and the rededication were important to him because it was important to the Marines and families.
“This place allows leaders to interact with Marines and their families in a different way that is indispensable to them,” said Farnam. “For that reason, it has to be here and it has to be good.”
First printed by the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System