Coast Guard Removes Top Chaplain for "Failure to Demonstrate Judgement"

Capt. Mode (right) visits the cutter USCGC Oliver Henry in Guam, Dec. 2023 (USCG)
Capt. Mode (right) visits the cutter USCGC Oliver Henry in Guam, Dec. 2023 (USCG)

Published Apr 24, 2024 7:56 PM by The Maritime Executive


On Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that it has permanently removed Father Daniel Mode, Chaplain of the Coast Guard, from his primary duty due to a loss of confidence. The service said that Mode "failed to demonstrate the requisite judgment expected from his key leadership position." 

The Coast Guard told Military.com that Father Mode's dismissal was prompted by a failure to report wrongdoing by another servicemember. According to the service, Mode had been aware of prior sexual misconduct by a second chaplain (before the second chaplain's enlistment) and did not take action on this information. The second chaplain is no longer on active duty, the outlet reported. 

Capt. Daniel Mode, USN - an ordained Catholic priest - took over the Coast Guard's top chaplain role in 2022, overseeing 50 active-duty and reserve Navy chaplains and over 90 auxiliary chaplains. (The Coast Guard sources its full-time chaplains from the Navy.) 

His earlier posts included the former carrier USS John F. Kennedy, the carriers USS George Washington and USS Harry S. Truman, and the command ship USS Blue Ridge. On shore, he served across the Middle East during Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and he oversaw ministry at the Guantanamo Bay base. While the majority of his prior positions were in Navy commands, he was also a chaplain at the Coast Guard Academy from 2009-12. 

Among other achievements, Capt. Mode wrote a book about famed Marine Corps chaplain Rev. Vincent R. Capodanno, who was killed by enemy fire while ministering to wounded soldiers in Vietnam. Mode's book started a push to nominate Capodanno for sainthood - a process that is now in its first official step. 

Capt. Mode will be reassigned by the Navy Chaplain Corps, outside of the Coast Guard, the service said in its announcement. The Coast Guard's Atlantic Area chaplain, Capt. Richard Ryan, will fill the position on a temporary basis.