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Spotlight on Airmen: Father Tom

Spotlight on Airmen: Father Tom

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Ludwig, wing chaplain assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, leads Mass at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Aug. 4, 2019. Ludwig has served as a military chaplain for the wing since 1998. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Michael Crane)

Spotlight on Airmen: Father Tom

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Ludwig, wing chaplain assigned to the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, leads Mass at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Aug. 4, 2019. Ludwig has served as a military chaplain for the wing since 1998. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Michael Crane)

ROSECRANS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mo. --

As a civilian priest in the Roman Catholic Church, Lt. Col. Tom Ludwig’s involvement with the 139th Airlift Wing began in 1997. Retired Col. Ken Criqui, the wing chaplain at the time, asked Ludwig to perform Mass for the wing’s Catholic members during drill weekends until a permanent priest could be found.

“I got such joy and positive feelings from the members and the base,” Ludwig said. “I felt that God called me to the 139th.”

In 1998, Lt. Col. Ed Morrison, who was preparing to retire, asked Ludwig to formally join the 139th as a chaplain. Ludwig accepted the offer and commissioned into the Missouri Air National Guard as a chaplain. In 2014, he was asked to work full-time as the wing chaplain.

Alongside his service in the 139th, Ludwig is a priest for the Archdioceses of Kansas City-St. Joseph. While serving with the wing, he actively serves in his parish and the archdioceses.

Ludwig said one of the defining moments in his career was a 2004 deployment where he experienced what it was like being a chaplain to active-duty service members.

“Being a base chaplain has also helped me grow in my own faith by working with chaplains and members from other faiths,” Ludwig said.

Ludwig recommends the 139th to anyone wanting to join the Air National Guard, especially the chaplain corps which gives you the opportunity to support people of all faiths and denominations.