Samuel David Chambers, Jr., was born in Newark, New Jersey, on February 13, 1921, son of Samuel D. and Lora May (Linton) Chambers, both now deceased. He was graduated from Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1943, and in 1945 received the degree of Bachelor of Divinity from the Princeton Theological Seminary. At College he was a member of Webster Literary and Debating Club and was Editor of the College Newspaper. Soon after entering Princeton Theological Seminary he was received into the Cadet Chaplain program of the Navy, and between summer semesters served with the Navy Chaplains at St. Albans Naval Hospital, Long Island, New York, the Armed Guard Center and Navy Yard at Brooklyn, and Floyd Bennett Air Field, and was listed in Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges. He was ordained as a Minister of the Presbyterian Church, USA, in the Presbytery of Newark, New Jersey, on February 18, 1945.
Having enlisted in the US Naval Reserve, V-12 Unit, while at Seminary, he was placed in charge of that unit of twenty-four men, and was commissioned Lieutenant (junior grade) in the Chaplain Corps of the US Naval reserve on May 26, 1945, to date from May 22, that year. He subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, USNR, to date from July 1, 1964.
From May 26 to August 18, 1945, he was a student at the Naval Training School for Chaplains at Williamsburg, Virginia, after which he reported to the Office of the Fleet Chaplain, Staff of Commander Service Force, Pacific, where he served until November of that year. He then joined USS Altair (AD-11) in which he served until February 1946. He was assigned to USS Sumner (AGS-5) for passage and in March joined Task Unit 1.8.5, attached to USS Bowditch. That vessel was present for the purpose for surveying for the Navy Hydrographic Office before and after the Atomic Bomb Tests at Bikini Atoll in July 946.
He was released from active duty on August 9, 1946 and joined the Chaplain Company of Reserve Unit 4-4. While inactive duty status in the US Naval Reserve from 1946 until 1952, Chaplain Chambers was an Instructor in Religion at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania, and in 1948 became affiliated with Lehigh Presbytery, Synod of Pennsylvania.
He was recalled to active military service in January 1952, and after brief duty at the General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island, was assigned in March of that year for Force Troops, Second Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. From March 1953 until April 1954 he was attached to the First Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, as Chaplain. He received two Letters of Commendation, with authorization to wear the Commendation Ribbon and Bronze in lieu of a Second Commendation Ribbon with Combat “V,” from the Commanding General First Marine Division. He is also entitled to the Navy Unit Commendation awarded the First Marine Division, Reinforced. The citations for his personal decorations follow, in part:
Letter of Commendation: “For heroic service in the line of his profession while serving with a Marine Infantry Battalion during operations against the enemy in Korea, from July 20 to 27, 1953…”
Letter of Commendation: “For meritorious achievement in the performance of his duties while serving with a Marine Infantry Regiment from July 28, 1953 to January 31, 1954…”
Returning to the United States in March 1954, he served for eighteen months as Chaplain at the Naval Training Center, San Diego, California and in November 1955 reported as Chaplain on the Staff of Commander Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, Japan. He remained there until October 1957 and later that month was assigned to the Naval Security Station, Washington, DC.
In November 1960 he joined USS Antietam (CVS-36) as Chaplain and in September 1961 reported a Head of the Naval Reserve Section in the Chaplains Division, Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, Washington, DC. In March 1965 he was ordered to duty at the US Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.
In addition to the Commendation Ribbon with Bronze Star and Combat “V,” and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Chaplain Chambers has the Naval Reserve Medal; the American Defense Service Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal. He also has the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Badge.