Rev. Dr. Robert A. Diggs, Sr.
Dr. Robert A. Diggs, Sr.
is a native of Mathews, Virginia. He is the son of Frances V. Diggs
and the late Robert E. Diggs of Cardinal, VA. He attended public
school there and worshipped in the Zion Baptist Church where Rev.
Dr. W. R. Henderson baptized him. Having graduated high school as
a State Champion Half Miler, he was recruited by Norfolk State College
to run track. He was the CIAA Champion three of four years in the
mile or half mile and a member of the NCAA Championship team for
two years consecutively.
He received his BS Degree
and entered the U.S. Army as a Distinguished Military Graduate and
commissioned RA Quartermaster detailed Infantry in 1975. He served
as platoon leader, executive officer, S-3 Air, S-3, and Company
Commander during his first tour in the military. He was then selected
to attend the University of Iowa where he received an MA Degree.
His follow-on assignment was at the US Military Academy at West
Point where he taught Physical Education for three years and coached
Rev. Diggs was called
into the Gospel ministry while in command at Fort Hood, Texas. He
preached his trial sermon at age 28 under the instruction of the
late Rev. Dr. R. A. Abercrombie of the Marlboro Heights Missionary
Baptist Church, Killeen, Texas in August 1980. While at the US Military
Academy, West Point, New York, he entered seminary at the Nyack
Missionary College (Christian Missionary Alliance Seminary) and
began work towards a Master of Divinity Degree. He was later transferred
to Fort Meade, MD where he continued his study at the Howard University
Divinity School. He received his Master of Divinity Degree in May
“All things are
possible with God”, for he completed his seminary education
at night and during the summers while on active duty. Rev. Diggs
received catechetical instruction from Rev. Dr. Olin P. Moyd and
was ordained April 1986 by the First Baptist Church of Guilford
where Rev. Dr. John L. Wright is pastor. His ecclesiastical endorsement
for the ministry of the chaplaincy was from the National Baptist
Church USA Incorporated. Having completed all the academic and religious
requirements, he applied for a branch transfer to the US Army Chaplain
Corps; but he was turned down. He was told that in order for him
to become a chaplain he had to be a reserve Captain. At the time,
Chaplain Diggs was two months from being promoted to Major, on the
Command and General Staff College school’s list and already
Regular Army. The chaplaincy stated he would have to resign his
RA commission, decline promotion to Major and leave the military
for one day to be reappointed the next day as a brand new chaplain,
Captain in a reserve status.
It was on Easter Sunday
1986 that he sat down to pen his resignation. The last line of that
letter read, “Jesus Christ gave up His life; the least I can
do is give up a golden leaf.” He was reappointed as a Chaplain
in June 1986 and has served as a Battalion and Brigade level chaplain;
during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield he served as the
First Brigade First Cavalry Division, Brigade Chaplain and was awarded
the Bronze Star Medal.
He relinquished his
duties as founding pastor of the Comanche Community Chapel in August
1992, which is now the largest chapel facility and congregation
in the US Armed Forces. Having begun with only 175 people in 1986,
by 1991 over 1200 worshippers gathered each Sunday to hear the Spirited
Gospel messages delivered by Chaplain Diggs. In addition, a 350
member Children’s Church, gathered at the same time to worship
under his visionary leadership.
Having completed the
Master of Arts in Religious Studies with a concentration in Ethics
(May 1993), he served as Ethics Instructor and Chaplain to the US
Army Logistics Management College in Fort Lee, Virginia. Having
completed special research and writing on a dissertation entitled,
“American Women in Combat: An Ethical Issue” he attained
the Doctor of Ministry Degree from Howard University’s School
of Divinity in May 1994. God is good.
Having turned down attendance
to the U. S. Army Division Chaplains’ Course and a below the
zone selection to Colonel, on July 7, 1996 he became the fifth Pastor
of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia. In addition
to serving as Pastor, Dr. Diggs has held positions in various organizations
over the years to include: Chairman of Finance for the Virginia
Baptist State Convention, member of the Board of Directors of the
Appomattox Education Foundation for the Governors School in Petersburg,
Virginia, state convention appointed trustee to the Children’s
Home of Virginia Baptist, and member of the Board of Directors at
the Virginia State University Credit Union. Dr. Diggs is currently
a member of the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Diggs retired from
active duty on July 2, 1998 receiving the Legion of Merit; the highest
military award given during peace, signed by the President of the
United States. His other military awards include the Bronze Star
Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (4th Oak Leaf Cluster), the
Army Commendation Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), the Army Achievement
Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), the National Defense Medal, the South
East Asia Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, the Parachute Badge
and the Air Assault Badge.
He is married to Dr.
Christine Heath Diggs, and they have three gifts from God: Robert
Jr.; Schnequa and Christopher.
life grounding text is “I can do all things through Christ
who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).