Dr. Robert A. Diggs
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 track.
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 1986.
“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. Reverend Diggs’ life grounding text is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).