Lt. Col. Brian Bohlman Earns 2013 ANG Chaplain of the Year
By Airman 1st Class Ashleigh S. Pavelek, 169th Fighter Wing
/ Published April 19, 2014
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Chaplain, Lt. Col. Brian L. Bohlman, assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, has been awarded the Samuel Stone Award in recognition as the Air National Guard's Chaplain of the year in 2013.
"I feel honored that I get to lead a great Chaplain Corps," said Bohlman. "We have a team of great people."
The Samuel Stone award is named after the late Chaplain Samuel Stone, the first recorded chaplain to serve in the militia of colonial America. The annual winner is based on training accomplishments and contributions to mission support, leadership contributions to military or civilian community and enrollment in off-duty programs of professional self-improvement.
Bohlman enlisted in 1992 as a chaplain assistant and was ordained in 1996. Today, Bohlman is a dedicated staff officer accomplishing many feats. These include being the first certified instructor of the Spiritual Resilience curriculum, serving on the Military Chaplains Association Executive Committee and leading Strong Bonds retreats.
Currently a drill status Guardsman, Bohlman makes himself readily available to assist the full-time needs of approximately 1,300 Airmen. Last year he served almost 130 duty days to aid in the mission of the 169th Fighter Wing. He also contributes part-time as a healthcare chaplain and as an adjunct professor of practical studies for Liberty University.
Bohlman emphasized the importance of availability in order to meet mission requirements and the spiritual needs of the people. Airmen value a chaplain beyond times of personal crisis. The importance of the Chaplain Corps is essential for overall spiritual health through faith or an individual's personal belief system.
Drawing inspiration from daily events, Bohlman distributes these life lessons throughout the staff and service members. He commented that caring for the needs of others ensures that the mission will always be accomplished.
One of Bohlman's most defining periods happened while deployed at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan in 2012. There he spent time helping severely wounded warriors at the Craig Joint Theatre Hospital. Bohlman stated that working with amputees in the hospital setting helped him to better understand resiliency.
"It gave me purpose and meaning to never give up," said Bohlman. "God can use any tragedy and help people to find meaning and purpose and actually triumph."
Bohlman attributes the ministry of presence of the SCANG Chaplain Corps as the most significant component to winning the Samuel Stone award.
"Visibility is key," said Bohlman. "Building relationships with the Airmen is important to earn the right to help in a time of need."
In June, Bohlman plans to refresh Sunday worship services. His Chaplain Corps will also begin unit walk-through visits with Swampfox Airmen to build meaningful relationships in order to care for the souls of Airmen in their time of need.