Chaplain fills in for active duty priest
By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle, 167th Airlift Wing
/ Published October 06, 2020
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
167th Airlift Wing Chaplain (Capt.) Joshua Stevens spent September at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona to offer some relief to their Chaplain Corps who was short-staffed due to deployments.
The temporary duty gave the traditional Guardsman, who serves as the 167th’s only Catholic priest, a glimpse of what his future may be, as he hopes to transfer to active duty in the upcoming months.
Stevens said he went to work immediately when he arrived, providing counseling, offering Mass and engaging with the Airmen, who, he noted, were a much younger than crowd he typically sees at his civilian church in Moorefield, W.Va. “They didn’t get some of my movie references,” he joked.
With a high operations tempo and frequent deployments at D-M AFB, Stevens stayed busy assisting with post-deployment events, counseling sessions, unit engagements, invocations and benedictions at ceremonies and more, to meet the spiritual needs of the Airmen.
“I really like the idea of serving those who serve the nation,” Stevens said who joined the West Virginia Air National Guard in 2015, just a few years after he became a priest.
Stevens said he started thinking about transitioning to active duty about a year ago and, with the support of his Bishop, he said things started coming together in August.
“I prayed about it and I felt that this was where God was moving me. I just enjoyed the heck out of being around everybody there all the time. I recognized that it was really good for me,” he said of his duty at D-MAFM. “This TDY helped confirm my decision,” he said.