The event, hosted by the 433rd AW Chaplains office, was to provide clerics who were each nominated by their 433rd Airlift Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen an opportunity to learn about the Air Force Reserve, the Alamo Wing and more importantly, receive a better understanding of the Air Force Chaplain Corps’ mission.
“This is really an important event that we have here because we only have our Reserve Citizen Airmen here for two days a month,” Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Ted Nicholson, 433rd AW chaplain said. “They, the civilian ministers, have them for 28 days during the month.”
The group was served a hot breakfast and was welcomed by Col. Terry McClain, 433rd AW commander. Lt. Col. James “J.C.” Miller, 433rd Operations Group deputy commander, gave the wing’s mission briefing, and then Nicholson briefed the group about the Air Force Chaplain Corps and the role they play in the Air Force. He also spoke to the clergy to better equip them to minister to the needs of the Reservists at their places of worship.
Before boarding the aircraft, one of the local clergymen, Chaplain Josue Tapia, with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, volunteered to say a prayer for safe flight, they then boarded a bus to the flightline for a flight on a C-5M Super Galaxy.
“I wanted to experience first-hand what happens militarily to our chaplains,” said Senior Pastor Jerry Dailey, Macedonia Baptist Church. “I have members who are Air Force and this gave me a closer connection, by personally experiencing it as a civilian pastor.
“Number one, I have never been in the cockpit before and that was amazing,” said an impressed Dailey. “Being able to look out and see God’s handiwork first hand as a pastor was amazing. To see how awesome this aircraft is, fthat ive Greyhound buses can get on this aircraft.”
Once aboard, the flight traveled south flying over the Texas coast before turning around at Brownsville. During the 1 1/2-hour trip, guests took turns filing from the troop compartment to the flight deck to observe the pilots and flight engineer work and marvel at the scene below.
“This clergy appreciation day was for pastors and clergy to know what their Reserve Citizen Airmen members are going through and how to support them through contingency operations,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Jesse Howard, 433rd Airlift Wing chaplain.
“They may need to be supporting their families, and Clergy Day gives them an idea of what Reservists do,” Howard said. “This was a fun and short trip to what we all do and see the hecticness of what we do.”
Clergy Day’s success could be summed up by Dailey.
“The heavens declared the glory of God, so I had a chance to experience that first hand on the C-5, and I got to be with other pastors who, likewise, had that same encounter and experience,” he said.
“I now have a greater sensitivity to the tremendous work of a chaplain and how a chaplain ministers to the military and to those families,” Dailey said. “I will never forget this.”