When the pandemic struck Fr. Brian Reedy, who teaches full time in the philosophy and theology departments at LMU while also serving as the chaplain to a 500-member Battalion of Seabees in Port Hueneme CA, was called from the active reserves into active duty service as part of the Navy’s COVID-19 response. Fr. Reedy served 120 active duty days as the chaplain of Destroyer Squadron 21, a set of 6 ships home-ported in San Diego.
In addition to the 1,200 Sailors of the Squadron, as the only Catholic chaplain on the north waterfront, Fr. Reedy provided for all the sacramental needs across the north waterfront of Naval Base San Diego, a facility of more than 48,000 personnel. As the only chaplain to live on base he was the first responder to several base crises, including being the first chaplain to respond to the fire on the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), for which he provided overnight support to the intrepid fire teams during the 4 days it took to extinguish the dangerous conflagration.
At the conclusion of his time in San Diego Fr. Reedy received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal in recognition of his active duty service. The citation accompanying the award reads as follows:
Deputy Squadron Chaplain in Commander Destroyer Squadron 21 from April to July 2020. Lieutenant Reedy performed his demanding duties in an exemplary and professional manner. He provided over 400 counseling sessions, 124 divine services (Masses), and 17 special sacramental acts, expertly and abundantly fulfilling the spiritual needs, not only of Squadron Sailors and their families, but of the entire chapel community (that serves over 48,000 souls). He also developed a highly-successful course on “Ethical Triangulation”, tailor-made to prepare Naval warfighters to navigate complex decisions, and created a virtual, online “Town Hall” allowing Sailors to address delicate issues of racial tension, deftly promoting rich discussion and mutual respect. In a time of global pandemic, his cheerful, tireless, and genuinely compassionate labors made a critical difference in sustaining morale, readiness, and toughness across the waterfront. Lieutenant Reedy’s exceptional professionalism, unrelenting perseverance and loyal devotion to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.