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Chaplain Retires from 174th Fighter Wing

Col. Kevin W. Bradley, Commander of the 174th Fighter Wing, Syracuse, NY, presents a Certificate of Appreciation from the Governor of New York, David Patterson to Lt. Col. Douglas Decker during his retirement on the 1st of October 2010. Lt. Col. Decker served more than 24 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard and had been assigned as the 174th FW Chaplain for the past 10 years. (US Air Force Photo by: SSgt James N. Faso II/Released)

Col. Kevin W. Bradley, Commander of the 174th Fighter Wing, Syracuse, NY, presents a Certificate of Appreciation from the Governor of New York, David Patterson to Lt. Col. Douglas Decker during his retirement on the 1st of October 2010. Lt. Col. Decker served more than 24 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard and had been assigned as the 174th FW Chaplain for the past 10 years. (US Air Force Photo by: SSgt James N. Faso II/Released)

Col. Kevin W. Bradley, Commander of the 174th Fighter Wing, Syracuse, NY and Lt. Col. Douglas Decker stand at attention during the folding of the flag ceremony during Lt. Col. Decker’s retirement on the 1st of October 2010. Lt. Col. Decker served more than 24 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard and had been assigned as the 174th FW Chaplain for the past 10 years. (US Air Force Photo by: SSgt James N. Faso II/Released)

Col. Kevin W. Bradley, Commander of the 174th Fighter Wing, Syracuse, NY and Lt. Col. Douglas Decker stand at attention during the folding of the flag ceremony during Lt. Col. Decker’s retirement on the 1st of October 2010. Lt. Col. Decker served more than 24 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard and had been assigned as the 174th FW Chaplain for the past 10 years. (US Air Force Photo by: SSgt James N. Faso II/Released)

Col. (Ret.) Tony Basile, former Commander of the 174th Fighter Wing, congratulates Lt. Col. Decker on his retirement from the Air National Guard during his retirement on the 1st of October 2010. Lt. Col. Decker served more than 24 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard and had been assigned as the 174th FW Chaplain for the past 10 years. (US Air Force Photo by: SSgt James N. Faso II/Released)

Col. (Ret.) Tony Basile, former Commander of the 174th Fighter Wing, congratulates Lt. Col. Decker on his retirement from the Air National Guard during his retirement on the 1st of October 2010. Lt. Col. Decker served more than 24 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard and had been assigned as the 174th FW Chaplain for the past 10 years. (US Air Force Photo by: SSgt James N. Faso II/Released)

Hancock Field ANGB, SYRACUSE, NY -- The 174th Fighter Wing said farewell to one of its chaplains during a retirement ceremony in the wing conference room on October 1, 2010.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Douglas Decker, 174th Fighter Wing Chaplain, retired after more than 24 years of service. Col. Kevin Bradley, commander of the 174th, presided over the ceremony, which was attended by many unit members. Special guests included his parents, brothers and sister.

Col. Bradley touched on a few of the highlights of Fr. Decker's career during his remarks. He also stated how the chaplain was important to him as a commander, and to the unit as a whole. He summed it up by saying, "There is no more noble a profession than to serve, and Fr. Decker took care of the spiritual needs of the men and women of the unit. We're gonna miss him around here."

Fr. Decker was presented with gifts, letters and certificates of appreciation. A flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capital was folded and presented by the 174th Fighter Wing Honor Guard. His mother was presented with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the unit members.

Chaplain Decker was welcomed to the 174th FW in 2000, and has served faithfully during that time. He enjoyed the relationships with the people in the unit, and his one regret is not seeing them a regular basis.

The Office of the Air Chaplain was established in July 1942 with the creation of the Office of the Air Chaplain under the Director of Base Service, HQ Army Air Force. After the Air Force became a separate department in 1947, discussions were held to determine if there should be a separate chaplaincy. A Transfer Order was given on May 10, 1949, thereby establishing the USAF Chaplain Corps.