Gratitude for ministry service on Veterans Day

By Andy Peck

Editor’s Note: The views presented here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Department of Defense or its components.

When Veterans Day approaches each year and we honor all the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces, I reflect upon each one God has allowed me to help along the way.

Chaplain Captain Andy Peck serves as a Southern Baptist chaplain in the United States Air Force. Photo submitted by Andy Peck.

I have served as an Air Force Chaplain since 2009. The Continental Congress authorized the Army Chaplain Corps on July 29, 1775, providing one chaplain for each regiment. Today, 246 years later, military chaplains continue to help meet the religious needs of the men and women serving in our Armed Services while, at the same time, advising military leadership on the morale and welfare of our troops.

I entered the military chaplaincy as an endorsed Southern Baptist Chaplain Candidate during my studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. I continued to serve as an Air Force Reserve Chaplain in the Individual Mobilization Augmentee program for four years at Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), and was eventually activated for nearly five years at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, N.M. I have been an active duty Air Force chaplain since 2019.

I love serving as a Chaplain in our military. It’s a blessing to wear the uniform and serve alongside our incredible Airmen and Guardians as they work hard to accomplish the mission and provide for their families.

While at Kirtland Air Force Base, I worked with an amazing group of Airmen who volunteered to run an Airman Ministry Center. This center provided a safe, fun place for Airmen to hang out, play games and build relationships with each other. One time, an Airman started expressing suicidal thoughts, and his friends and wingmen brought him to me at the Airmen Ministry Center for pastoral counseling. That evening, we spent several hours together. We followed up with counseling in the following weeks, and I will not forget the sacred moments we shared.

Over the years, many Airmen have opened up to me in counseling about problems with alcohol, a problem no one but they knew about. In one case, I was able to put the Airman in touch with the Air Force Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Program, and after a voluntary 30-day in-patient treatment, the Airman emerged feeling healthy and has stayed sober to this day.

I have counseled numerous Airmen who are discontent with their way of life, spiritually hungry and wondering how to have a personal relationship with God. I have felt like Esther numerous times, thanking God that I was available at that moment to speak with them and share God’s Word and love with them.

I have been a first-hand witness to marriages saved, addictions broken and suicides averted. I’m thankful to the Lord for the opportunity to be a chaplain. I’m thankful to the Air Force, to the North American Mission Board for endorsing me as a Southern Baptist Chaplain, for my resilient wife and children, to the military legacy established by my dad, grandfathers, uncle, cousin and for the United States of America.

To the millions of veterans out there, thank you for your service. You have served well, and your Nation and this chaplain are proud of you.

You have many resources available to you: your local pastors – many of whom have served like you, our Veterans Administration chaplains – many of whom are prior military – the timeless Word of God which stands forever – and our Lord and God who will never leave you nor forsake you.

God Bless You.

Published November 11, 2021

Andy Peck

Captain Andy Peck is a North American Mission Board endorsed chaplain with the United States Air Force.