39th ABW hosts 2020 National Prayer Breakfast
By Senior Airman Matthew Angulo, 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 26, 2020
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- The 39th Air Base Wing Chaplain Corps hosted the annual National Prayer Breakfast at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Feb. 20.
Service members and civilian employees from the U.S. and other NATO allies attended the event which celebrated more than 200 years of religious freedom.
The National Prayer Breakfast originated in 1953 when members of the House and Senate prayer groups established the first Presidential Prayer Breakfast with President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The purpose of the breakfast was to seek divine guidance for the national leadership and to reaffirm the nation’s belief in everyone’s right to practice a religion of their choice.
The U.S. Air Force includes spirituality as a major pillar of individual resilience.
“Hopefully when people come, they take some tools with them to help them become more resilient in life,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Manuel Duarte, 425th Air Base Squadron chaplain, in regards to the breakfast.
The keynote speaker for the event was U.S. Air Force Col. Trent C. Davis, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa command chaplain.
According to Davis, in 1943 four chaplains gave their lives in order to lead soldiers to safety after a torpedo hit their transport ship off the coast of Greenland. As the ship went under, survivors reported seeing the chaplains on the deck of the ship, arms locked in prayer, as they sunk into the cold North Atlantic waters.
“As we take a knee today, let’s consider what made these chaplains remain so calm in the midst of their storm,” said Davis. “How were they able to exemplify such peace in the midst of the chaos and fear? I believe it comes down to two words: spiritual readiness.”
He defined spiritual readiness as, “a personal, committed relationship with God [plus] a healthy, mutually-supportive relationship with others.”
U.S. Air Force Maj. Paul Amaliri, 39th ABW deputy wing chaplain, explained how the goal of the National Prayer Breakfast and resilience go hand-in-hand.
“Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adverse stress,” he said. “How do we bounce back? How do we become resilient and handle our stress? Prayer reminds us that spirituality is one of the pillars.”
He added that spirituality doesn’t always refer to religion but can also mean believing in something bigger than one’s self.
The National Prayer Breakfast is a reminder of the constitutional right of the freedom to practice or not practice religion—a right chaplains around the Air Force say should not to be taken for granted.