Glorifying God, providing spiritual strength, honoring Airmen and serving all

  • Published
  • By Gen. Arthur J. Lichte
  • Air Mobility Command chaplain
October is Clergy Appreciation Month, and as the commander for Air Mobility Command I want to take this opportunity to encourage AMC Airmen, civilians and families to pay tribute to the often unsung heroes of our military forces - our chaplains.

Clergy Appreciation Month began in 1993 with an effort to recognize ministers across the United States on the second Sunday of October. Later, under the support of Focus on the Family and other ministries, such as the National Day of Prayer Task Force, Clergy Appreciation Month gained greater momentum. Last year an estimated 30,000 churches participated in this significant event.

The service of chaplains in our military has an honored tradition that dates back to the Revolutionary War. Through the 231 years of our nation's history, chaplains of all faiths have ministered to our military people in some of the most difficult places and cultures ever encountered by clergy men and women.

We have eight deployed total force chaplain service members today serving our combat forces around the globe providing ministry to those fighting the Global War on Terrorism. Whether in time of combat or peace, chaplains help men, women and families in the military environment find the spiritual strength and purpose that only God can give that drives them to make tremendous sacrifices for others, our nation, and the greater good.

While some individuals are called to serve God, every member of the armed forces answered a call to serve his or her country. Chaplains have a unique opportunity in their vocations to serve God, their religious faith and their country at the same time.

In today's military, chaplains are both professional officers and professional clergy with their primary focus being "visible reminders of the Holy" as they address the forces' spiritual well-being. Chaplains provide spiritual care and model ethical leadership to our units and their families.

As "visible reminders of the Holy," chaplains support the constitutional right to free exercise of religion for all members of the armed forces, their dependents, and other members of the base community. They provide places of community worship, sanctuary and confidentiality, helping servicemembers manage burdens while accomplishing the mission. Today we have approximately 550 total force chaplain servicemembers serving in Air Mobility Command.

In today's "high tech" Air Force, the chaplaincy provides the human touch that keeps us grounded in matters of faith, family and fellowship. In honor of Clergy Appreciation Month, Air Force chaplains, I salute you and give God thanks for your service!