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Priest enhances spiritual wellness

Q&A with new Rainier Wing chaplain

Chaplain (Capt.) Mark McGregor stands in front of the U.S. Air Force Chaplain Service flag displayed in his office, Feb. 10, at McChord Field. McGregor is the newest chaplain assigned to the Rainier Wing. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Bryan Hull

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As the Wing's newest member of the Wellness Team, can you discuss some goals you would like to accomplish this year?

The first goal is to know the chapel team, especially Sergeant Allen Jackson, my Religious Support Team member. The second is to know, listen to and serve the squadrons in the Operations Group. Thirdly, as a chaplain for all reservists of the 446th AW, I want to support them in their spiritual fitness and total wellness. My fourth goal is to give spiritual care and leadership for the Catholic members of the unit.

You joined the service after 9/11... can you discuss how that impacted you and inspired you to serve?

In the first decade of the 2000s I taught, mostly, film studies and screenwriting in higher education. Many weekends I'd assist at Catholic parishes to help local pastors. Outside the universities I noticed more young people in wheelchairs or with prosthetics and I became interested in serving in a more direct and pastoral way. I was motivated to serve because the war on terrorism was being fought by a few members of the military, yet our entire nation was being defended. I felt called to serve with those who stood up to serve our country.

In the wellness newsletter, you discuss how stories behind the men and women and how they propel them forward are a blessing?

Everyone has a story, everyone has hopes, and at some level everyone wants to be known and heard. Chaplains are entrusted with people's stories, especially those frail parts or broken hopes, and need to be confidential partners in helping people write new chapters and have a stronger spirit. A lot of this happens by listening to others and learning when and what to share.

Could you discuss a little more about your previous assignments/military background?

In 2011, when I came onboard to active-duty, I was sent to Minot Air Force Base in the Great Plains of North Dakota. I deployed to the Middle East within a year of my commission. I learned so much in my first two years. I spent just under two years at Joint Base San Antonio at Randolph, enjoying the change of pace and place. I PCSed to Eielson Air Force Base in the spring of 2015. I welcomed the great trek northwest. I deployed to Qatar in 2016 and forward deployed to three different locations in the AOR.

Could you expand on your New Year message of being a light?

"Light a light.  Be a light."

By sharing our gifts we help others, even if it's just a little. When we share ourselves, we take a bigger step in lighting a light for others because we show others that giving of yourself, although it's risky, is rewarding. When we make a choice to serve or love or respect others, we become more of a light. The darkness (of whatever kind) around us or in us isn't overcome but what we do but who we are. I'm not trying to sound like Yoda, but it's my experience that we become more and more what we intend. If we intend to light up the path for others, we are transformed by that.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I love movies and like to talk movies/cinema. From Unforgiven to Black Hawk Down to Babette's Feast. I like a variety of movies and movie genres.

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