Seminary alumnus Archpriest Peter Baktis, Ch (COL) USA was honored recently for his twenty-five years of dedicated service as a chaplain with the United States Armed Forces. During the same retirement ceremony, held at the US Intelligence and Security Command Headquarters in Ft. Bevoir, VA, Matushka Jeanne also received the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal for her dedicated service to soldiers, families and civilians.
Father Peter graduated from St. Vladimir's Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 1985 and wrote his thesis on the development of North African Ecclesiology. He also holds a Master of Theology degree from General Theological Seminary, New York City, and a Master in Strategic Studies degree from The United States Army War College, Carlisle, PA.
The grandson of Belarusian and Lithuanian immigrants, Fr. Peter grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He and his family were members of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, East Meadow, NY. It was while serving as an altar boy that Fr. Peter first felt the call to the priesthood.
Father Peter entered the Army Chaplain Corps in 1990. He was deployed as an active duty chaplain in Kosovo, Iraq, Kuwait, and Bosnia and also served at installations in the United States, Germany, and South Korea. His most recent assignment was as Intelligent and Security Command Chaplain at Fort Belvoir, VA. Immediately prior to that he served as Chief Chaplain at Fort Bliss, TX.
His awards include: Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Star, Armed Forces Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon–3, and the NATO Medal with Bronze Star.
We ask God to grant many more years of health to Fr. Peter and Mat. Jeanne as they take up active parish ministry at the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow Parish, Princeton, NJ.