AETC Command Chaplain delivers final military sermon at Columbus AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman Hannah Bean
  • Airman Hannah Bean

Chaplain (Col.) Doug Slater, Air Education and Training Command chaplain, from Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, delivered his final sermon of his Air Force career Feb. 24 to attendees at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

The visit was initiated by Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Steven Richardson, 14th Flying Training Wing chaplain, inviting Slater to preach his fini-sermon, his last sermon as a chaplain, at Columbus AFB Chapel, ending his nearly 30-year career.

“It’s the last worship service I’ll perform as an Air Force chaplain and I wanted to conclude how I started,” Slater said. “It’s important to me personally. I’m thankful to be here and be able to see the community and their relationship here.”

Most chaplains serve several years as a civilian pastor before they apply to be a military chaplain. They then receive an endorsement from a religious denomination or major faith group to provide ministry to men and women in uniform.

“I’m delighted we can honor this man of God who has dedicated so many years to serving Airmen and their families,” Richardson said. “It goes to the core of who we are as chaplains, and it reminds us that our first calling is to God.”

During the sermon, Slater spoke to the congregation about God’s love and reminisced about his time as a child learning about God and how one small event initiated a chain reaction that lead his life to where he is today.

He referenced the song “Somebody to Love” by Queen and asked the audience to focus on the lyrics and see the meaning behind those words. He went on to ask people to find somebody to love and to demonstrate God’s love through small tasks.

“Think back to that one person or that one event that influenced you and helped you become the person you are today,” Slater told the crowd. “How did you get here? How are you helping others along their journey to God’s will?”

He talked about when he was young and wanted to do a sleepover at his friend’s house. When they asked his friend’s mother, she agreed on the condition that they be up and ready to attend church the next morning. He loved the service so much that he asked his dad to take him to church, leading to his father and family connecting with God.

At the time he didn’t think much of it. Later in life, he connected that response from the friend’s mom sparking his love for God today and his decision to become a chaplain.

Slater expressed that everyone has a connection to someone or something that influenced them to be the person they became today. It takes only one small action from someone who cares to change a life.

Editor’s note: The U.S. Air Force does not endorse any particular religion. The Air Force highly values each person's right to observe the tenets of his or her respective religion or to observe no religion at all.