Officer & Chaplain: William Hardison on “Two Halves of the Collar”

July 6, 2023

William Hardison is Deputy Command Chaplain at the Naval Station in Norfolk, VA. Here we share a snapshot of what God is doing through him.

William “Billy” Hardison was the first baby born in the church his grandfather – a 27-year veteran of the military – helped plant just outside of Fort Bragg, NC. Little Billy grew up around military families and believed he would join the military right out of high school. God, however, had more specific plans.

Having discovered both a love for volleyball and for working with youth, upon graduation Billy found himself living in the Chicago area with his college roommate. There, he was introduced to his future wife, whose parents helped start a large church in Oak Brook, IL. He loved working with youth and soon found himself being asked to be the church’s college pastor. Seeing how formal education helped other pastors become better ministers, Billy began taking classes at Northern Seminary.

There and at the church, several people began encouraging Billy to consider how he might integrate what he was learning with military service. Those prompts were God bringing him full circle – this time, however, specifically into military chaplaincy work. His independent studies and courses were crafted around a specialty in this area.

Today, Billy is Deputy Command Chaplain at Naval Station Norfolk, the largest navy base in the world, where he oversees a staff of more than a dozen people, counsels sailors, leads weekly chapel, and deals with a multitude of other responsibilities. His favorite part? Being with those who are doing the work of the Navy.

“You get to rub shoulders with people who will never darken the doors of a church,” he says. “I get to work out of two halves of the collar – as a Naval staff core officer and as a pastor and chaplain.”