927th Chaplain awarded 2023 Outstanding Reserve Chaplain

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Bradley Tipton
  • 927th Air Refueling Wing

U.S. Air Force Capt. Josue Santiago, 927th Air Refueling Wing chaplain, was selected as the 2023 Thoralf T. Thielen, Outstanding Reserve Chaplain award recipient while serving on orders with the 1st Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Fla. A successful year of hard work resulted in the award, but Santiago’s journey to serve in the Chaplain Corps was many years in the making.

“It began with my role model and inspiration – my father,” said Santiago. “He’s a retired chaplain and he modeled the importance of caring for others in unique ministry settings.”

Santiago first enlisted in the Air Force Reserve, working in the petroleum, oil and lubricant shop. Though the time spent working on aircraft left an impression on Santiago, he transitioned to directly supporting airmen and their families as an Airman & Family Readiness Center non-commissioned officer.

“This specialty was memorable because of the honor and privilege of serving and working with such amazing and diverse talent across all of our Squadrons making up the 927th ARW.”

Answering a calling that still remains, Santiago thanks his wife, family and friends for their support throughout his journey.

“I had my first glimpse during my time at BMT. I never imagined marching Airmen as a chapel guide and sneaking letters to my family into the mailboxes before arriving to the chapel would one day be part of my chaplaincy story.”

Serving the spiritual needs of Airmen places chaplains in a unique position within the military, and a cornerstone of ensuring readiness of the force is taking care of the whole Airman.

“As a chaplain, I get to be in your corner through the good, the bad and the ugly,” said Santiago. “I get to remind others, you are never alone and have value.”