Commentary: There is something about a chaplain

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Seaman conducts an ecumenical service at the base chapel, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y., May 3, 2015.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Andrea Pitruzzella)

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Seaman conducts an ecumenical service at the base chapel, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y., May 3, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Andrea Pitruzzella)

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- It was September of 1981, most of my friends were beginning their college experience, and I was in a white van headed to the airport on a journey that would begin at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.  The next morning I woke up as an Air Force Basic Trainee.  In the years since that day, I have come to learn that there is something about a chaplain.

As I have made my way around the Air Force, I have always been aware of the presence of a chaplain.  They are typically the first office I seek out when I am new to a base, and I have been to very few places where I have not had some type of interaction with the local chaplain.  The 914th Airlift Wing has had a vacancy in this position for the past several months, and it creates a void.  I find comfort in having the chaplain to talk to, learn from, receive an encouraging word, respond when you are in need, or to just be present.

I had the opportunity to talk with Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Seaman who joined the 914th Airlift Wing as the Wing Chaplain.  During our conversation I learned so many things about Chaplain Seaman.  As a civilian he works for the State of New Jersey as a psychiatric chaplain for a state hospital.  As a reservist he comes to us from Air Force Reserve Command, Robins AFB, Georgia, where he performed a variety of jobs to ensure the chaplain corps was trained and ready for what they were called to do.  He has served as a wing chaplain at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey and in Afghanistan, and has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Chaplain Seaman's spiritual goals for the members of the 914th Airlift Wing are worship, counseling, and ministry of presence.  He also told me many stories of his life on the road as a chaplain,  but I really learned more about  him from the way he spoke of the people he has met on the journey, from his quiet voice, his examples of devotional thoughts, and his willingness to share experiences even when they represented challenging times in his life.  It was in these moments that I knew we once again had a chaplain.

April was the first Unit Training Assembly with Chaplain Seaman and I encourage you to take the opportunity to meet him, whether it be in worship, in his ministry of presence, or maybe over lunch or conversation.  Hopefully, you too will understand what I mean when I say, "there is something about a chaplain."