Chaplain Lt. Col. Jack Fitzgerald to retire
By MSgt Stacey Barkey, 171st ARW
/ Published August 10, 2010
August, 2010 -- As Lt. Col. Jack Fitzgerald prepared for his last mass, he sat behind his desk and rubbed cream on his sore ankle. "One of the best things about being part the Air Guard was the fact that it kept me young in mind, body, and spirit!", said Fitzgerald, better known as Father Jack who plans to give his last mass service at the 171st Air Refueling Wing on September 19, 2010. His career of over 23 years will come to a close on September 30, 2010.
He first heard about the opportunity to serve the members of the 171st in 1986 and quickly joined the Contracting Section as he awaited the approval of his paperwork to begin ministering to the base. As a civilian pilot he was excited to bless others as he pursued his own love of flying and traveling. It was a great match for everyone, especially since he was already serving as a chaplain to the Pittsburgh International Airport where he served from 1994-2009.
During his career Father Jack deployed many times to several different countries. "We are only useful servants who have done our duty and I hope that I have contributed as much as I have been blessed," he said as he recalled his memories.
Father Jack spent his whole military career at the 171st and said, "I would never have wanted to be in any other unit! It is the people, the camaraderie, the relationships, and the atmosphere that made my time here great."
Father Jack will continue to minister at Our Lady of Peace in Conway, Pennsylvania. As a pilot and small plane owner he plans to spend more time flying after retirement. He will be missed at the 171st as he leaves an empty desk and a space in the hearts of many members who knew him. The 171st is looking for a Catholic priest to take his place, if you know a priest who may be interested in serving the community at the 171st please contact recruiting at 1-800-To-Go-ANG.