LT Damian S. Velarde, CHC, USN
Chaplain Damian Velarde
LT Damian Solomon Velarde is a native of Northwestern New Mexico, he enlisted in the Navy in 1996 at MEPS in Albuquerque, NM. After graduating from Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois, he reported to Basic Hospital Corpsman School in San Diego, California. Upon graduation he received orders to First Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA, where he served as a line company corpsman with “C” Company, 1st Battalion 4th Marines. In 1998, Velarde deployed to the Middle East with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in support of Operation Southern Watch. While serving with the Fleet Marine Force, Velarde earned the Fleet Marine Force designator.
In February 2000, Velarde attended Basic Radiography School at the Naval School of Health Sciences, San Diego, CA, where after graduation he reported to Naval Hospital Sigonella, Italy where he served as a Radiographic Technician. In July 2002, Velarde reported to Advanced Radiography School at the Naval School of Health Sciences, San Diego, CA, where he was promoted to Hospital Corpsman Second Class. Upon graduation, Velarde received orders to Naval Hospital Okinawa, Japan where he served as an Advanced Radiographic Technologist in the radiology department. In October 2006, Velarde separated from the Navy in order to pursue a calling in ministry.
After 8 years in pastoral ministry in Italy, England and Texas, he applied and was selected to serve as a Navy Chaplain, and thus commissioned as a direct commission officer to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade in August 2015. He is a graduate of Liberty University, and received a Mater of Divinity from Liberty School of Divinity.
LT Velarde has served as the Deputy Command Chaplain at Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay Georgia. Battalion Chaplain at 2d Reconnaissance Battalion, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He is currently serving as the Command Chaplain on USS GUNSTON HALL (LSD-44).
Chaplain Velarde is married and together they have five children.
LT Velarde is a Fleet Marine Force Qualified Officer and a Surface Chaplain Qualified Officer.
His personal award includes the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 awards) and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.