HomeNewsArticle Display

On the Road: Chaplain's journey to higher calling

Click Here

Capt. Emmanuel Enoh, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Catholic chaplain, reads a prayer from the Missal. The Missal is a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Eric M. Sharman)

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

In Abak, Nigeria, Dec. 8, 1974, a mother, nine-months pregnant, feels that her baby is ready to arrive. The duration of the journey to the hospital is longer than her new child can wait. She gives birth to her fourth child, on the side of the road.

“So, I’ve always been on the road,” laughed Capt. Emmanuel Enoh, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Catholic chaplain. “I was the one who was always going somewhere, like when I went away to boarding school, or left the country for college and again for missionary work. I was born on the road, and I’ve been traveling it all my life.”

Raised in Nigeria, his hometown was frequently a host for Irish-Catholic missionaries, from whom Enoh took inspiration. From a young age, he was fascinated with their devotion and the great risks they took on their missions. He studied them at the Catholic boarding school he attended as a child.

“I was fascinated with what they did, even going back to the 1700s,” said Enoh. “They would cross the seas; many of them dying on the voyage, and more contracting malaria when they arrived in Africa. I wondered what inspired them. What was their secret that in the face of death, they were not deterred?”

This curiosity led him into missionary work. He joined a hometown missionary group and entered the priesthood in Owensboro, Kentucky, after completing his master of divinity degree.

Enoh’s first assignment as a priest was to the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, thirty minutes from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. It was there that Enoh had his first experience with the military through a nearby mental health facility. He received a call, saying that a post-traumatic stress disorder patient needed to talk to a priest.

“The patient was suffering from her experiences in the Iraq war,” recalled Enoh. “She just wanted to talk about her experiences, so we spent the whole night talking. I couldn’t relate to her experiences, but by being there and letting her talk, it gave her comfort. That experience drew me to serve as a military chaplain.’”

He entered the Air Force Reserve as an individual mobilization augmentee, assigned to the 42nd Air Base Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. After a year of reserve duty, he came on to active-duty and was reassigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing, Altus AFB, Oklahoma. Enoh’s service has given him a broader perspective on the differences between serving his parish and serving his country. He understands that while he is still a Catholic priest conducting the services associated with that role, his duties are to serve all Airmen, regardless of faith.

“The person who needs help isn’t necessarily Christian, or Muslim or any religion,” explained Enoh. “They might just need another person to listen, or show them direction. It’s about being there for the Airmen, not necessarily giving them my perspective as a Catholic priest.”

As an Airman, Enoh has embraced the Comprehensive Airman Fitness model, comprised of a multitude of targeted programs and activities, as well as resiliency skills taught to enable Airmen to make sound choices. The CAF model stresses the importance of mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness as a means of creating resilient Airmen capable of winning the nation’s wars.

“The four pillars of the CAF model are like magic,” said Enoh. “If you put that into practice, life will be easier. For the most part we’ve listened to it so much that sometimes you tune it out, but it is something I believe in. Chaplains are in the business of taking care of people, but you first have to take care of yourself.”

Through the use of the CAF pillars, Enoh has been able to tend to his own needs. By taking care of himself, he has been able to affirm that his ministry, his dedication, and the journey on his road, have been able to make a difference.

“I’m always asking myself if I gave my all, and if I really helped that person,” said Enoh. “A few times I’ve run into someone who came to me for help and been told, ‘thank you chaplain for being there for me’. That changes my life every time I hear it.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEPA: #BomberTaskForceEurope 20-1 is in full swing and B-52s from @TeamBarksdale are operating out of RAF Fairford to improve bomb…
RT @EsperDoD: During #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth, I challenge all @DeptofDefense employees to stay committed, ensuring they are following…
RT @AirNatlGuard: Special Delivery! ✈️📦 The @109thAW teamed up with the @RCAF_ARC for Operation Boxtop, an annual resupply mission to suppo…
We strive to increase our Airmen's lethality and capabilities. Learn about firefighters leading the cost-effective… https://t.co/Nrgx3BSrtl
RT @EsperDoD: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett for her overwhelming bipartisan confirmation by @SenateGOP & @SenateDems to be the 25th Se…
Gen. Stephen Wilson visited Houston to help #SpaceCity celebrate #AstronautWeek. He visited @spacecenterhouston and… https://t.co/Nymvd98qvQ
Our Airmen continuously work to strengthen our alliances. Learn more about how EOD partnered with Niger Armed Force… https://t.co/VwRIOnBokn
Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of #HoustonWeHavePodcast by @NASA_Johnson where Gen Wilson joins Air Force Colon… https://t.co/Y7u9cHFtOt
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: This is an exciting day for our Air Force. Secretary Barrett brings an incredible background and a level of strategic…
The Senate has confirmed the 25th Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett. https://t.co/Y6kDGD5eds
RT @DoDHealth: #DYK? Many @TRICARE beneficiaries may qualify to purchase vision insurance through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision I…
Hello #Chicago! SrA Genesis Martinez Arteaga grew up in Chicago and has great things to say about the city, click… https://t.co/o8gFv5YYhp
RT @cmsaf18: It's a great day for our teammates in every corner of the DoD! Our brothers and sisters in service are in the best hands possi…
RT @DVIDSHub: This is what it’s like to be a piece of #military cargo being dropped from an aircraft. Try not to get dizzy! … https://t.co…
RT @AF_Football: The C-17 is the newest member of the Air Power Legacy and honors the nine Air Force bases home to the aircraft with tail f…
RT @HQ_AFMC: The @usairforce Life Cycle Management Center will hold a #PitchDay Nov 13-14 in Dayton, OH focused on awarding on-the-spot, Ph…
RT @HQ_AFMC: The newest @usairforce software development lab is coming to downtown Macon, Georgia. "We want to expose the work that we’re d…
Hello Houston, Texas! SrA Myesha Crosby tells us that there is no other city like Houston. Well, we are here to see… https://t.co/L17T5QH1Oo
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Our Cyber #Airmen take the fight to the enemy in #cyberspace, while keeping us connected w/ each other & our loved one…
RT @ClemsonFB: Jalen Williams || Transferring passion for service and enthusiasm to impacting the world through purposeful employment! Cong…