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Ellsworth celebrates USAF Chaplain Corps 75th Anniversary

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brittany Kenney
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Base chaplains, religious affairs staff, and Raiders from around the installation gathered to recognize outstanding Airmen and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force chaplain corps at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, Jan. 31, 2024.

Also in attendance for this special occasion was Maj. Gen. Randall Kitchens, the U.S. Air Force chief of chaplains, and his senior enlisted leader, Chief Master Sgt. Sadie Chambers, who stopped at Ellsworth during a four-day trip visiting other bases in celebration of this event.

The U.S. Air Force was established in 1947, at which time Air Force personnel were ministered to by U.S. Army chaplains. As time passed, it was discovered the culture of the Air Force was very different than that of the Army. In May of 1949, Gen. Carl Spaatz, in consultation with Chaplain Maj. Gen. Charles Carpenter, ordered the institution of the Air Force Chaplain Corps.

“This is the diamond anniversary of the chaplain corps,” said Kitchens. “Chaplain Carpenter laid a huge foundation in the beginning, and here we are 75 years later, still caring for airmen, guardians, and families.”

The occasion was celebrated with a cake cutting ceremony performed by Kitchens and Senior Airman Elise Day-Barnett, Wing Staff Agency religious affairs staff, symbolizing the value and unity of all Airmen from those that hold the most seniority to the most junior members of the force.

In addition to the cake cutting ceremony, 10 airmen from across the base received a coin from Kitchens after being nominated due to their efforts in volunteering in their community, as well as demonstrating exemplified spiritual fitness.

“I wish we could have recognized everyone that was nominated,” said Capt. Canyon Shearer, 28th Mission Support Group Chaplain. “Narrowing it down to 10 was difficult. But we are still so grateful for those out there making a difference in our community.”