August 05, 2023
Mississippi National Guard State Command Chaplain builds a life of service on a biblical foundation from WBS
Chaplain (Colonel) Cregg M. Puckett (M.Div. ’98) came to Wesley Biblical Seminary with a strong spiritual foundation, growing up in church and attending Wesley College. WBS made sense to him as a place to continue his studies for ministry because of its strong stance on biblical authority and inerrancy. “That’s the camp I belong to,” he explains. “The Bible is the foundation for everything.”
He enjoyed his studies under professors like Matt Friedeman, Chris Lohrstorfer, Billy Ury, and Ray Easley. “It was a tremendous opportunity to learn from, and build relationships with, such great men of God,” he recalls. “I grew a lot over those four years.”
Building on that foundation, Cregg answered a call to enter the Chaplaincy. He had already served seven years as an enlisted soldier before receiving his commission as an Army National Guard Chaplain in 1998. “The chaplaincy is a challenging environment,” he explains, “with multiple denominations and belief systems represented. But if you are grounded in your own beliefs, it is a wonderful opportunity to meet the needs of people, and it was a great fit with my pastoral calling.”
Following that calling took Cregg around the world, with assignments including Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and three tours in Afghanistan. His awards and decorations speak to the courage and faithfulness with which he has served. They include the Bronze Star Medal with OLC, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with OLC, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with OLC, the Senior Parachutist Badge, the Combat Action Badge, the Special Forces Tab, and various other awards.
The soldier’s heart, the soldier’s spirit, the soldier’s soul, are everything. Unless the soldier’s soul sustains him he cannot be relied on and will fail himself and his commander and his country in the end.”
As a WBS graduate, serving in these challenging environments was an opportunity for Cregg to see God’s grace at work. “I believe in God’s saving and sanctifying grace, and the freedom and empowerment the Spirit gives us. It is a privilege to offer that grace to soldiers and their families.”
Along the way, Cregg served over 20 years as a pastor in various churches. “They were wonderful churches with wonderful people,” he reminisces, “who extended great flexibility and support to me to be able to navigate serving as a pastor and a chaplain at the same time.”
He currently serves as a chaplain with the Mississippi State Veterans Affairs, serving nearly 250 residents of veteran homes in Kosciusko and Jackson, MS. Some of his priorities include building resiliency, suicide prevention, and strengthening marriages and families.
Cregg’s latest military assignment is as the state command chaplain in the Mississippi Army National Guard. However, he does not see himself as a “commander” so much as a “servant leader,” considering it a privilege to have the opportunity to serve and invest in other chaplains as a “minister to ministers.”
Cregg’s approach to the chaplaincy is guided by the same drive as General George C. Marshall, who prioritized building 555 new chapels on Army installations as he saw World War II approaching. As Marshall said, “The soldier’s heart, the soldier’s spirit, the soldier’s soul, are everything. Unless the soldier’s soul sustains him he cannot be relied on and will fail himself and his commander and his country in the end.” While the culture has changed since Marshall’s day, Cregg sees the same opportunity to come alongside the military community with spiritual support and encouragement.
“My prayer request would be that more men and women would hear God’s call into the chaplaincy,” he says. “We need more chaplains, and I would love to see them coming from such a trusted institution as WBS.”
Learn more about the Chaplaincy program at WBS.