May the faith be with you

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tori Schultz
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
With her hands resting in her lap, the chaplain smiled before softly recalling what influenced her to serve in the Air Force.

"From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a positive influence for people through ministry and I had a love for military families," said Capt. Amy O'Connell, 6th Air Mobility Wing chaplain.

However, O'Connell explained that she did not initially feel as if the military was for her, even though she had spent most of her childhood growing up in a military family at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.

Fortunately, her father, a retired Air Force air operations specialist, gave her the push she needed to become a chaplain in the Air Force.

After graduating from college, O'Connell started her career as a youth group pastor and was endorsed by International Ministerial Fellowship in 2009. A year later she joined the Air Force and went to Commissioned Officer Training.

"I was really nervous at first but ended up loving it," said O'Connell. "After COT, I was in the Chaplain Candidate course for two tours and shadowed the chaplains at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada and Los Angeles AFB, California."

She went on to become an individual mobilization augmentee reservist to serve as a youth pastor and clinical assistant at a behavioral health center. Although she was very content with this position, O'Connell transitioned to active duty in Sept. 2014, with the support of supervisors, family, and church.

Currently, O'Connell is doing what she wanted as a young girl by providing spiritual care, moral and ethical advice, and pastoral counseling to the service members, civilian workers and their families at MacDill AFB, Florida.

"The most rewarding part about being a chaplain is being able to help people and seeing a weight lifted off their shoulders," commented O'Connell.