Story by Airman 1st Class Chase Sullivan
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Team Barksdale welcomed in a new wing chaplain, Lt. Col. Richard Holmes, during an Assumption of the Stole and Crook ceremony June 24, 2021.
Only the second of its kind to be conducted in the Air Force, the Assumption of the Stole and Crook ceremony signifies the importance of a wing chaplain as the spiritual leader at his base.
“It’s humbling to be given the responsibility and privilege to help the Airmen of this wing practice their spiritual fitness,” Holmes said.
Col. David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, was the presiding officer for the ceremony and expressed it’s value in signifying the importance and worth the wing chaplain brings to the base.
“The wing chaplain fills a role that is significant,” Kelley said. “It is unlike any role in the wing. He is the spiritual leader of the base. And not just to those within the chapel walls but to everyone in the community.”
Familiar with the heavy burden and unique challenges wing chaplains face, Kelley went out of his way to request Holmes as Barksdale’s new wing chaplain, confident he would be a great cultivator of Striker Culture.
“I know Chaplain Holmes to be an incredible pastor,” Kelley said. “He loves Airmen and walking with them through the most painful days of their lives.”
Guiding the lost back to safety is a frequent task of chaplains, represented by the crook, or shepherd’s staff, during the ceremony.
The stole, embroidered with the 2nd BW and Air Force Chaplain Corps badge and formed from the same material as the Air Force uniforms signifies the sphere of ministry of the wing chaplain and their identity as a fellow service member.
“When I was on a deployment in Jordan I got to see shepherds and how the crook is used to pull in those heading into danger,” Holmes said. “So whether it’s a team member hurting or a member of team Barksdale hurting, it’s our job to reach in there and pull them out.”
As Striker Nation continues to grow and adapt, the Airmen of Barksdale can rest assured their spiritual needs are taken care of.
“The team that I get the honor and privilege of leading are responsible for that spiritual fitness pillar for our entire base community,” Holmes said. “It’s very humbling to be granted this opportunity to serve in this capacity.”