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Chapel History

The Chapel's New Beginning

When the installation was still Carswell AFB, the chapel which served the congregants on the base simply bore the unofficial name "Carswell Chapel." When the Air Force relinquished control of the base and ended their services in September 1994, clergy and congregation volunteers kept Carswell Chapel up and running until April 1996 when the Navy Command Religious Progam completed their move from NAS Dallas.

LCDR Mark Jumper served as Navy Command Chaplain in the area from 1994 to 1997 and thus oversaw the move from NAS Dallas and startup of Navy chapel services as NAS Fort Worth. "All Faiths Chapel" had been home to the Navy religious program at NAS Dallas since February 1948. As Chaplain Jumper orchestrated the move, he began a quest to officially name the chapel at NAS Fort Worth.

Chaplain Jumper started with the belief that this chapel should have its own, new name: something special which spoke of their new life, their joint mission, their heritage and their new location. He hoped to find a person, preferably a Texan, who was prominent for both a military connection, and most important, for his or her faith.

Startin in 1994, he researched Texas history for the right person, someone to both honor and inspire the chapel in its mission. They were disappointed not to find anyone who seemed especially appropriate at first. Then in February 1997, Chaplain Robert Preston Taylor joined in Heaven, the Lord he had served so well on Earth. It quickly became apparent, as the story of his life was told, that he was exactly the man whome they should honor with the chapel's name. Chaplain Taylor served as a chaplain in the Philippines during World War II; was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry; and inspired great hope among the troops through his spiritual leadership, heroism and miraculous survival.

Chaplain Taylor epitomized faith, faithfulness, courage, self-sacrifice and dedication. He taught everyone to love, not only friends who need help, but also enemies, who need love even more. He had a vision for joint ministry to military people in all services. He showed forgiveness, flexibility and persistence. He demonstrated excellence reaching the pinnacle of achievement and service as the AF Chief of Chaplains, 1962-1966. Chaplain Taylor preached his final active duty sermon in the chapel on board Carswell AFB, now NAS Fort Worth.

Chaplain Jumper was unsure they would be succesful in getting the Navy's approval to name the chapel after and Air Force General. The Navy had historically shied away from naming buildings after people, and it was, after all, now a Navy-operated installation. However, the proposal was quickly approved, and, on August 8, 1998, a dedication ceremony was held to officially name "Robert P. Taylor Chapel."

 

Robert P. Taylor's Historic Service

Robert P. Taylor was born in Henderson, Texas, in 1909.  He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in 1933; a Master of Theology degree from Southwestern Baptist Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, 19 1936; and a Doctor of Theology degree from Southwestern Baptist Seminary in 1939.

Prior to entering the military service in September 1940, Chaplain Taylor served as pastor of the South Fort Worth Baptist Church.  His first military assignment was as post chaplain at Barksdale Field, Louisiana., in the grade of first lieutenant.

He was reassigned as regimental chaplain of the 31st Infantry Regiment in Manila, Philippines, in May 1941.  Folowing the declaration of war on December 8, 1941, his regiment was transferred to the Peninsula of Bataan.  Chaplain Taylor was promoted to the grade of captain and awarded the Silver Star for gallantry during the Battle of Bataan.  At the surrender of the American forces on April 9, 1942, Chaplain Taylor became a part of the "Bataan Death March," which traveled 60 miles north to Japanese prisoner of war camps.  He served as chaplain in the prison camp hospital at Cabanatuan.  Chaplain Taylor was later taken to Japan on one of the infamous "hell ships" in which over 1,000 of the 1,600 prisoners died.

Following liberation of the prisoners from Hoten Prison in Manchuria on August 15, 1945, Chaplain Taylor was promoted to the rank of major; and assigned as deputy staff chaplain, Headquarters Army Air Force Training Command at Barksdale Field, Louisiana, in January 1946. Prior to his assignment in December 1957 as chief of the Personnel Division, Office of Chief of Air Force Chaplains, Chaplain Taylor served as wing chaplain, Mather Air Force Base, California; deputy staff chaplain, Air Material Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; chaplain for Civil Air Patrol Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; and staff chaplain of the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

On July 1, 1958 Chaplain Taylor was appointed to the grade of brigadier general.  He assumed duties as the 3rd chief of chaplains and was promoted to the grade of major general Oct. 1, 1962.  Chaplain Taylor is commemorated on a coin in honor of the 1st five chiefs of chaplains.  His decorations included the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Presidential Unit Citation.

Although wounded while aboard the "hell ships," Chaplain Taylor was not awarded the Purple Heart while on active duty because his wounds were inflicted by American aircraft.  His close friend, Major General Willard Latham, US Army, gathered witness affidavits and successfully gained pentagon approval for award of the medal prior to Chaplain Taylor's death.

Robert P. Taylor passed away on February 1, 1997 in Arlington, Texas.  He was survived by his wife, son, daughter-in-law, sister, brother, two grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and friends.

 

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