OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea – The Osan chaplains hosted a joint Catholic mass for the first time in over a year at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 8, 2023.
With the chapel under construction, religious services offered have been held in various buildings across the base; the Catholic mass was usually held at the Mustang Center.
Due to an unavailability at their normal meeting place, U.S. Air Force Capt. Nelson Ogwuebu, 51st Fighter Wing chaplain, saw this as a chance for the base to unite the Republic of Korea Air Force personnel and their families for an integrated mass.
“We connected with our host nation by sharing that day,” said Ogwuebu. “We want to maintain that relationship. We’re friends, and I was excited to worship together.”
The USAF chaplain corps supports the Constitutional right to freely exercise religion for all Airmen and their families. Ogwuebu explained the importance of providing religious services for service members, no matter the circumstance.
“As chaplains we’re here to defend the rights of our people either to worship or to not worship,” said Ogwuebu. “Chaplain Park was very gracious to lend us his space in order to hold this joint service.”
After Ogwuebu reached out to ROKAF Maj. Geun-hyeok Park, chief of chaplains, they planned to have the service at the ROKAF chapel.
“I believe because we have the same goals and beliefs, we can overcome language barriers and cultural differences,” said Park. “I believe this will play a positive role in establishing relations between the two air forces, if we as chaplains frequently contact and support each other.”
Both ROKAF and USAF chaplains expressed their desire to share more joint services together for all services on base in the near future.