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Battlefield chaplain brings tactical ministry

Battlefield chaplain brings tactical ministry

Story by TSgt Rachelle Blake on 03/29/2019

Faced with a near-death experience, followed by a short stint in special operations, Offutt is a change of pace for the new Wing Chaplain.

“I deployed to Kandahar Air Force Base, Afghanistan, and experienced intense things,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Kevin Humphrey, 55th Wing Chapel. “A patient had a body-bourne improvised explosive device and we were all standing next to her when the doctors began yelling clear the room, clear the room. She is wired.’ We cleared the room, but we had to go back and evacuate the hospital.”

Humphrey’s life wasn’t always as extreme – he was born in Amarillo, Texas, as the son of a Navy Seabee and was a drum major in high school. From a young age, his faith played an important factor.

“I really pursued a relationship with God starting at nine-years-old and the desire and intensity to serve Him continued to grow in my life,” Humphrey said. “At the age of 13, I really felt like God was calling me into the ministry. I surrendered to serve God with my life.”

He struggled to find in what capacity he would serve, bouncing from children’s ministry to youth ministry to college ministry. It wasn’t until he was pastoring a small church while attending seminary that he realized his purpose.

“It was then that September 11, 2001, happened,” Humphrey said. “I was so upset for our country and I was ready to join the military and not as a chaplain. God spoke to me and told me I was to be a chaplain in the military and serve our men and women in uniform.”

His first assignment was to Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

“I was part of the frozen chosen,” Humprey said.

Nine moves followed before he found himself at Offutt that included a residency at Brook Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, an assignment embedded with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, and standing-up Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

This was no easy feat as a husband and father of five, but the support of his family is what kept him motivated.

“I get paid to do what I love, few people can say that,” Humphrey said. “So being the wing chaplain at Offutt gives me a greater vehicle to care for more people, and for that, I am so thankful I get this great honor. I also get the unique honor of leading a staff of people who also love our Airmen.”

His prior assignments are what drive his vision for the chapel team.
“It’s where a great deal of formation developed on the importance of the squadron based initiatives rather than wing initiatives and I keep those lessons with me to this day,” Humphrey said. “My job as the Wing Chaplain is to create a strategic vehicle of ministry so our Chaplains and Religious Affairs Airmen can produce the most tactical and impactful ministry to our Airmen where they are.”

His hope is to create a “dynamic tactical ministry now for the warfighter and family of the future.”

“I want people to be excited about what we are doing and I want our ministry to always be tactical in nature,” Humphrey said. “When I say tactical one pictures boots on the ground.’ I want our ministry to be tactical in the sense that the ministry we produce impacts people right where they are spiritually and emotionally.”

He also stresses the importance of “now” as there are so many community needs, and he wants the capability to be responsive immediately.

“Our focus is always on the warfighter and the family of tomorrow,” Humphrey said. “We are focused on our warriors and their families. We are also looking to the future needs of our people so we can project how we will meet that need of the future before it actually reaches us.”

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