By Staff Sgt. Natalia Vazquez Torres, 439th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 10, 2020
U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Thompson, 439th Airlift Wing Chaplain, sits with a bible July 24, 2020, at Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts. Thompson has been a chaplain at Westover since 2017 and is transitioning to active duty in August 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Shane M. Phipps)
For some people, getting the job done is their driving force. For others, the impact they have on those around them is what pushes them to get up every morning. U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Thompson, 439th Airlift Wing Chaplain, falls under the second category.
Thompson joined the Air Force Reserve three and a half years ago, with the intention of serving a wider audience.
He said he previously served as a minister in a church and a prison, before deciding he wanted to serve heroes. Thompson was motivated by the ability to be a minister to Airmen in a unique setting.
“The most inspiring part of my job is being able to get to know our Airmen individually and make a connection with them,” he said.
Thompson added he is encouraged that Airmen know he cares for them and they can come to him in the future.
“These Airmen request me for future counseling and visits and this is most inspiring and rewarding,” he said.
Thompson decided to expand his reach and serve Airmen by becoming an active duty Chaplain. He said he wants to deploy and support Airmen in high stress environments.
“The Chaplain Corps is really unique because Chaplains might be noncombatants,” he said. “But we’re still always the type of people that are right there supporting those who do.”
He said his time in the Reserve at Westover helped him realize he wanted a full-time career as Chaplain.
“Being in the Reserve, and specifically at Westover ARB as a Chaplain, has inspired me that this form of ministry is most rewarding for me,” he explained.
Thompson said he’s open to the possibility of returning to Westover.
“I might come back full circle, for a following assignment in the future,” he said. “You never know.”
Thompson said he’ll miss the people at Westover.
“Westover has taught me so much, starting out as a new military member here,” he said. “[They] showed me how to be a good Airman and Chaplain.”
Thompson said he saw everyone check on each other’s wellbeing and support one another at Westover, which he appreciated.
“Stay Patriot Proud of your accomplishments and never forget that you serve in the best and most impressive Air Force in the entire world,” he said.