CNAL Force Chaplain
Cmdr. William "Bill" Stewart
Chaplain William “Bill” Stewart, a native of Inola, Oklahoma, graduated from Rogers State College in 1983 where he received an Associates of Technology degree in computer science. In 1984 Stewart enlisted for active duty service where he was selected for the Nuclear Electronics Technician program. He later became a Religious Program Specialist (RP), completing assignments on the USS Hunley (AS 31) in Holy Loch, Scotland and at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station in Exmouth, Western Australia. While on active duty as an enlisted Sailor, he attended various schools in both electronics and the Navy’s Religious Ministry Program.
Upon completing nearly five years active duty service, Stewart started his formal training for ministry and joined the Naval Reserves, serving through the years with Military Sealift Command Northern Japan 211 and 111, U.S. Marine Corps 4th Marine Division 2/14, Fleet Hospital 500 Combat Zone 21, Naval Reserve Region South Headquarters, and the “Fighting Seabees” of Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) 22.
Stewart’s formal training for ministry began at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore, Oklahoma. He received a bachelor’s degree in theology as well as an associate’s degree in Christian Education in 1990. Stewart then pursued and received his master’s degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas in 1993 and then an additional master’s degree in education and linguistics at Oklahoma City University in 1996. He holds a doctorate, all but dissertation, in educational psychology and technology at the University of Oklahoma, concentrating in human motivation.
In 2003 Stewart was commissioned as an officer and returned to NCB-22 as the battalion chaplain, where he previously spent nearly six years as an RP, and mobilized for nine months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Al-Anbar Province, playing a critical role in the historical free elections of Iraq. In 2007 Stewart was asked to return to active duty as a commissioned officer, and proudly accepted.
Now serving active duty as a Navy chaplain, Stewart served in Japan as deputy command chaplain at the Yokosuka Base Chapel of Hope, one of the largest Navy religious programs. He then became squadron chaplain, Destroyer Squadron Fifteen, Forward Deployed Naval Forces, also based out of Yokosuka, playing a critical role in Operation Tomodachi, amongst other operations.
Stewart was the director of the Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation Northwest in Seattle, Washington before serving as the district chaplain for U.S. Coast Guard District 13 based out of the same area. Stewart then served as command chaplain of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and currently holds the title of force chaplain, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic.
As a civilian, he worked primarily as a university instructor in areas such as linguistics, teaching English as a second language, educational psychology, human motivation, computer science, and using technology to enhance instruction. Institutions where he taught include the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University, and Randall University. In addition to pastoral work, his ministry included short term missionary work in Brazil and Japan, as well as extensive counseling and training.
Stewart has now served his country in the Navy and other sea services for over 37 years. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), Navy Commendation Medal (3 awards), Navy Achievement Medal (3 awards) as well as several other personal and unit awards.