"I will revolutionize the way people look at Chaplains"
By Master Sgt. Todd Moomaw, Tech. Sgt. Sara Robinson, 132md Fighter Wing, Iowa Air National Guard
/ Published February 10, 2013
Des Moines, Iowa -- As Airmen, we all raised our right hand and swore to 'support and defend The Constitution of the United States'. This is no exception for members of the Air Force Chaplain Corps. As a matter of fact, they focus on one very important part of the Constitution, our First Amendment Right to 'Free Exercise of Religion'.
Chaplain (1st Lt.) Tony Davy is the newest member of the Iowa Air National Guard 132nd Fighter Wing's Chaplain Team. As a young man growing up in Independence, Iowa, he felt the call to ministry at the young age of 11. This started him on a spiritual journey that has led him to a better understanding of the power of spirituality and diversity in religion.
After high school he worked as a counselor at a boarding school and looked for opportunities that he thought would help people. He then decided that the military would be a good place to gain insight in the world and maybe help him grow as a person. "I'll join the guard for a couple years and see," he said in May of 2003. Davy first served as a traditional enlisted member in the Logistics Readiness Squadron for 9 years. He was selected in 2008 as the 132nd Fighter Wing Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. After finishing his Bachelor's Degree in Business from Upper Iowa University, he earned a Seminary degree from Liberty University.
It was now time for Davy to decide what direction he wanted his military career to go. Davy's motivation to become a Chaplain came from interacting with his peers on drill weekends and several overseas deployments. "People in uniform come into contact with more reasons to look to the divine," he says. In Davy's 20 years working in ministry he learned that spirituality can be the key to a better society as a whole.
"We can make the world a better place, one person at a time. We have the ability to help others, but often we choose not to. Don't be concerned about, 'what's in it for me', says Davy. Being a good person is not specific to any religious affiliation. Chaplains serving in the United States military need to be prepared to offer spiritual guidance regardless of someone's religious or spiritual beliefs.
"We [Chaplains] give everyone access or the right to worship as they choose or the right not to do anything. We treat the people around us appropriately, regardless of religion. If you get strength from a religion we want you to practice that regardless of the religion. Spirituality supplements our relationships with everyone," explains Davy.
The US military is a culturally rich, interfaith environment as is the Chaplain Corps. Chaplains can specialize in Muslim, Protestant, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu or Sikh beliefs. They are not however limited to just those areas. All Chaplains should be able to council, support and advise any other area.
Davy has 2 objectives to reach his goals as a chaplain. First, make himself available to anyone who wants to speak of a spiritual nature. "We don't always see that we are spiritual, but crisis in our lives can make us come to grips with our spirituality," he says. The second goal is to increase participation in base worship services. Davy understands the challenges of people making themselves available on busy drill weekends, but wants to create an excitement or buzz around worship. "There is strength in numbers, we can create synergy with more people, and on an individual basis it boils down to connecting with the person next to you."
Lt. Davy says, "I will revolutionize the way people look at Chaplains." All of us should be in the ministry, all the time. Chaplains are stewards of community and citizenship. Community is common and unity combined. Too often, we just want to be us, but we have to help each other. Being a good wingman does not stop at the end of drill weekend. We need to be wingmen for other citizens to help the world be a better place.
"Assisting other people will give us more fulfillment in our own lives. We should be reaching out every day to minister hope and address needs with people we come in contact with every day," he says.