Heavenly flight: Chaplain delivers service during trans-Atlantic trip
By Tech. Sgt. Della S. Creech, 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 19, 2019
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, GERMANY --
Chaplain (Maj.) Aaron Meadows, 315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, conducted an in-flight worship service for Airmen, Dec. 15, 2019, while en route from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to the U.S.
Chaplain Meadows delivered a unique worship service at 30,000 feet on a C17 Globemaster III for about 20 Airmen from the 315th Airlift Wing.
“It’s taxing to have to miss your church services at least once a month and then on missions too,” said Senior Airman LaChrisha LaSane, a medical technician from the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. “So it was the perfect surprise to have Chaplain join us this Sunday.”
For Airmen such as LaSane, worship services are part of a healthy spiritual lifestyle and Meadows makes a point to meet that spiritual need through uplifting services. Where the Airmen go, he goes.
Meadows first began in-flight services when he arrived at the 315 AW, “I brought a chaplain deployment kit thinking I would offer a service some time during the training mission. While in flight, I thought it would be neat to offer a communion service while we were cruising at 30,000 feet. It went really well,” Meadows said. He has adjusted the service since then to reach the most people. “So now we normally do the service on the ground the last day of the mission before heading home, it’s usually a great way to end the trip.”
Many Airmen find it difficult to maintain a healthy spiritual life while adapting to a busy military schedule. So Chaplain Meadows reaches out to Airmen by working hand-in-hand.
“Services like these make it easier for people to feel better about going on missions that make it difficult to attend their local services,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Murray, 315 AES flight nurse. “It definitely uplifts spirits and helps fulfill that important need.” He proudly sent a photo to his preacher at home to show his dedication.
Meadows recognizes that with about 2,200 Airmen in the 315 AW, one weekend a month just isn’t enough to reach the deeper levels of worship and he looks forward to joining missions such as these.
Meadows said, “Having the chaplain team on the flight and with the members during the training allows for relationship building that simply cannot happen during a busy Unit Training Assembly weekend.”
Worshiping together helped to build, not only a community but helped people to become spiritually fulfilled.
“Having an opportunity to engage in worship allows Airmen to become spiritually fulfilled and return home on a good note after a tiring mission,” said Meadows. “Much of the work I do is about helping people become more spiritually aware, fit, and helping them with restorative work in their life and relationships.”
Making an impact in the Airmen’s lives is important to Meadows and his team at the 315AW. This service also helps him to answer his calling as an American Airman.
“With a grateful heart, Uncle Sam pays me to care for the spiritual needs of all Airmen regardless of their religious faith or lack thereof,” Meadows said. “Seeing the lives we are able to impact and the way we see God’s kingdom grow through our ministry really encourages me in the work I do.”