I Love My Job!

I love my job! Truly. The last few days have been a blast. Thursday we ran an exercise most of the day in preparation for the Joint Service Open House, a huge airshow, that comes up in May. The hilarious thing was that in the middle of the exercise we started to hear real world reports of some big cat (cougar, jaguar, or something similar) on loose on the base. Sure enough, there is some kind of big cat out there -- they are still trying to catch it. I was at the base hospital waiting for the family of someone who had passed away, when suddenly Fox news breaks live to Andrews where the "big game cat hunt" is under way. Here kitty, kitty, kitty...

But back to the job... I get to work hand in hand with some of the best folks I've ever known. I spent some time with the EFAC yesterday (Emergency Family Action Center) and have to say I was impressed with the organization and professionalism of the people working the center. God forbid, if a major incident happens, they are ready!

Today I had the privilege of participating in two key events in the lives of our airmen. First I did the invocation for a retirement ceremony. As I listened to this individuals accomplishments throughout his career I found myself hoping that I too will reach the point of twenty + years of service in this wonderful family. As the commander of the unit said, we are not just a unit, we are a family. I've actually participated in several retirements, and have noticed a consistent theme: excellent service and a sadness at leaving behind a job that was truly enjoyed. His son gave one of the most moving renditions of the National Anthem on his saxophone that I've ever heard.

As I drove back to the office, I heard a familiar roar in the sky overhead. Looking up I remembered that sometimes we don't make it to retirement. Sometimes the mission requires a major sacrifice -- as a formation of F-16's flew over in the missing man formation, likely for a funeral service at Arlington National cemetery.

Later I gave the invocation for the Wing's promotion ceremony. This usually turns into a major team building and exciting event as teammates cheer on each other in good natured rivalry between the units. I have to say I was proud when one of the squadrons I am assigned to care for had the one promotee to Chief Master Sergeant, the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force. It was especially moving to see the young airmen moving up in areas of authority and responsibility and to see their wives, several of them expecting, and their children coming on stage to be part of the moment, for in truth families are an essential element to an airman's service. Those who wear the uniform are not the only ones who sacrifice in service to their country. Long deployments, long work days, long work weeks, and time away for training is something that families sacrifice so that those of us who wear the uniform may do our best for our country. Their support is a key element to why we can love our jobs.

Being a chaplain has to be the best job in the Air Force because I have the opportunity to
work with people from many different areas on the base from those who fly the planes, to those who fix the planes, to those who guard the base, to those who take care of the troops, to those who take care of the base itself and so on. I get to be part of the work and even private lives of these men and women who give so much from the first term airman to the veteran wrestling with a life transition in retirement, to those who are happy and celebrating great success to those whose lives are under stress and in need of some encouragement. From the airman basic all the way up to the highest ranking officers and leaders on the base I have the privilege of being able to offer encouragement to them, and it is a privilege. I love my job!