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March Chaplain's Reflections

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (1st Lt.) Father Samuel M. Gray, assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 8, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (1st Lt.) Father Samuel M. Gray, assigned to the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 8, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Chaplain Reflection
Introducing Chaplain, 1st Lt. Matthew Gray
March 2016

I'm very excited to welcome Chaplain, 1st Lt. Matthew Gray as our newest Chaplain to the SCANG! I've asked him to share how God led him to join our ranks as the second Catholic Chaplain to ever serve in the SCANG since Chaplain Gary Linsky transferred from the SCANG to active duty in 1999. Chaplain Gray is assigned as the Mission Support Group Chaplain and I hope you will welcome him to the SCANG when you see him around base.

Chaplain, Lt. Col. Brian Bohlman
Wing Chaplain

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To the SCANG Family:

I am honored to be the newest member of the Chaplain Corps here at McEntire. I commissioned in December fulfilling a long-held desire to serve those who serve. Ever since I was a boy, I have always had a deep admiration for those who defend our great country, a country that I love very much. I come from a family that has a proud tradition of service in the military. My grandfather was in the Army Air Corps in WWII, my father was in the Navy in Vietnam, and I am proud to continue my family tradition by serving in the Air National Guard.

I was uncertain of where God was calling me to serve at first. While in college at the University of South Carolina, I considered joining the Air Force ROTC program but after some prayer, I felt a calling to become a Catholic priest. I answered that call while in Seminary but I still felt "a tug" to join the military every time a chaplain recruiter came to speak with us. I put it off each time thinking that it was just a desire to be a priest until, when after my ordination in 2011, I still felt a call to join the greatest military in the world.

In 2012, I received a call from Master Sgt. Charles Williams on behalf of Chaplain, Lt. Col. Brian Bohlman requesting that I offer Mass on base as an auxiliary contract priest. I was happy to help and enjoyed coming here once a month on Sunday to offer Mass. While here I quickly noticed the very strong family atmosphere as well as the committed professionalism and esprit de corps within each Airman. I wanted to be part of the mission and to help, not only the Catholic Airmen, but all the Airmen of the SCANG.

You have given so much of yourself that I would like to be there with the rest of the Chaplain Corps as a resource to help in good times and in bad, praying with and for you. Whether you are Catholic or not, please know that I am here to serve you in whatever need you have. I am looking forward to getting to know my new SCANG family over many years of service.

God bless,

Father Gray