Grissom welcomes first full-time chaplain

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jami K. Lancette
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Having a call to serve, lead one chaplain down a path to serving Airmen at Grissom.

Grissom recently welcomed Chaplain (Capt.) Blake Campbell to the 434th Air Refueling Wing as the first Active Guard/Reserve Chaplain in Grissom’s history.

“I have always liked the Reserve, being a citizen Airman and having a foot in both worlds,” said Campbell. “I wanted to be able to step up for a while and do that full-time.”

Campbell, is part of a team responsible for providing spiritual care for over 2,000 Airmen. He graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degrees in history, philosophy and religion.

In 2013 he earned a master’s in religion and in divinity. Campbell is currently working on a doctorate in ministry and is on track to graduate in 2023.

Campbell has taught as an adjunct professor of biblical and religious studies, worked as a course developer, produced over 50 peer-reviewed publication and served on publication and faulty boards.

He heard yet another call that he felt compelled to answer. In 2015 he commissioned in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and served as an individual mobilization augmentee chaplain at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and then Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

After moving back to the Midwest to be closer to relatives, Campbell found out about the chaplain AGR position here to which he decided might be a good fit. 

“There were four packages submitted for the position and there were four of us that independently reviewed the packages,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Alex Jack, 434th ARW chaplain. “We unanimously rated him as the number one candidate as he was head and shoulders above the rest.”

Campbell’s faith and dedication to serving others, especially in a time of need, helped aid his decision to accept the position.

“Part of the reason I felt the need to apply was seeing how the COVID-19 pandemic was taking a toll on military members and their families,” said Campbell. “I wanted to step up and help when help is needed the most.

“I am very passionate about my faith and helping others practice theirs,” Campbell added.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Airmen and aircraft from the 434th ARW routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission and U.S. strategic objectives.

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