AF Academy celebrates service of grads who became chaplains

  • Published
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Communications

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – A plaque unveiled in Fairchild Hall late last month lists the names of the 22 U.S. Air Force Academy graduates who went on to serve as chaplains in the Air Force.

The plaque was uncovered in a ceremony hosted by Chaplain (Col.) Julian Gaither, the Academy’s command chaplain, and featuring comments from Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Randall Kitchens, Department of the Air Force’s Chief of Chaplains, May 22.

“This memorial plaque will serve as a reminder to all of our cadets, present, past and future, that there is a possibility to serve your faith and country in our chaplain corps,” Gaither said.

Kitchens said the event commemorates Academy graduates who became chaplains to serve the needs of Air Force and Space Force families.

“Way back in the day, you went to the Academy to become a pilot,” he said. “Now you come to the United States Air Force Academy to become a leader.”

The event also honored Chaplain (retired Col.) Robert Browning, the first Academy graduate from the first graduating class of 1959 to become an Air Force chaplain, who retired from the Air Force after starting his Air Force career as a B-52 navigator. Browning served in the chaplain corps at several U.S. and overseas locations before retiring at the rank of colonel.

“The real question is who will be the next name on the plaque,” Kitchens said. “What awesome things will they do? Who will be that next name to care for Airmen, Guardians and families?”

The plaque, currently exhibited in the Academy Chaplain’s legacy hallway, will be displayed in the Cadet Chapel once workers complete the Cadet Chapel renovations.

As chief of chaplains, Maj. Gen. Kitchens is the senior pastor for more than 770,000 active duty, Air National Guard, Reserve and civilian forces in the U.S. and overseas.