By Kari HawkinsSeptember 11, 2017
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Adolph DuBose is always in search of an open door.
"When you walk with God, he opens doors for you," said the Aviation and Missile Command's chaplain. "When you hold onto your faith and let God guide you, he will never leave you without a path to follow.
"When I am counseling and encouraging people, and helping them to draw closer to the Lord, I look for open doors that will help to grow their faith. When I find those open doors, that's when I'd go in and help them in their walk with God."
Throughout his nearly 35-year Army career, the "open doors" DuBose has walked through have led to opportunities to share words of faith with Soldiers and civilians of all ages, backgrounds and experiences.
Right now, the chaplain's own "open doors" are leading to a civilian
ministry in retirement that will take DuBose and his wife Shirley to their home in Montgomery. Dubose will retire on Friday at 10 a.m. in a ceremony in the Sparkman Center's Executive Dining Room.
"Being here at AMCOM has really been a blessing because it has shown me the way to a civilian ministry after a very fulfilling Army career," DuBose said. "In this assignment, I've worked alongside civilians more than at any other assignment. It has helped me transition and prepare for what my ministry will be like as a civilian. Through this assignment, God has opened a new door for me."
The ministry hasn't always been the focus of DuBose's Army career. In 1979, he enlisted as a biomedical electronic technician, and spent 10 years maintaining and repairing medical and dental equipment. During a deployment to support Army field hospitals in Central America, DuBose began to question his path.
"I was already a lay minister in the Baptist church. God started tugging at my heart, letting me know there was something else he wanted me to do," DuBose said.
"When I returned to Fort Sill (Oklahoma), I went to a service where a friend of mine's father was preaching. He was an Army chaplain and while he preached I saw a light reflecting off the cross on his uniform lapel. I prayed and told God, 'I get the message, Lord.'"
But, change didn't come easy. The DuBose family already included three young children. Leaving the Army for seminary meant they would have to rely on Shirley Dubose's income as a nurse and would have to manage without health insurance.
"After lots of prayer, we knew this was what we needed to do," DuBose said. "God really answers prayers when you walk in His will. He opens doors for you and you have to continue to walk through those doors."
During the three years of seminary, DuBose remained in military service as an Individual Ready Reserve. He then returned to active duty and was assigned to minister to Soldiers in basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
"It was a great ministry. A lot of the Soldiers in basic at Fort Leonard Wood were assigned to serve as band members. They would bring their instruments and perform on Sundays in church," DuBose said. "I baptized 10 to 15 Soldiers on any given Sunday. We would have congregations full of 400 to 500 enlisted Soldiers each Sunday.
"I would see the same Soldiers in the field during the week, and encourage and counsel them. I would pray for them before qualifying tests. Then, I would see them in church on Sundays. It was a time that really blessed me and my ministry."
DuBose's connection to Soldiers and their families followed him throughout his career, which included assignments in Germany and at Fort Rucker, Alabama; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Korea and Fort Benning, Georgia. During a deployment to Kuwait, he ministered to Soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq and Qatar. In Korea, DuBose was the senior pastor at the second largest U.S. congregation, which featured an all-male choir. At Fort Knox, he worked with distinctive faith groups and served as an ethics instructor. As a squadron chaplain, he helped Soldiers and their families build resiliency.
"The military is a demanding organization with long hours away from families. As a chaplain, I offered hope through sermons and counseling," DuBose said.
"I counseled Soldiers to stay committed to their families and God. I counseled families to leave the worries to God and to live life to the fullest, to really value the life God has given them and to really care for the people in their lives. Even as Christians, not every day is going to be a sunny day. In challenging times, we have to bear our crosses as well. But commitment and faith will carry you through the challenges."
He often provided families with scripture to help them through the challenges of Army service, including his favorite verses: Psalm 37:3-5. Matthew 6:33 and Galatians 6:9. And, he would set an example for Soldiers by ensuring that he, himself led a just, upright life.
"When things go wrong, Soldiers want to be able to call on a chaplain who walks upright with God at all times," DuBose said.
Wherever he and his family were assigned, it wasn't unusual for DuBose to be greeted by a Soldier or a Soldier family while out in public who would express appreciation to him for his counsel and prayers.
"For me, it was important to be not only a chaplain, but also a pastor to those I served. I wanted to be proactive in my ministry," DuBose said. "I wanted Soldiers and Soldier families to know they could call on me at any time for help and prayer. I wanted to know Soldiers outside their formations. It was about building relationships with Soldiers and their families."
At AMCOM, DuBose was known as the praying chaplain, a spiritual servant who would stop what he was doing or where he was going to share a few minutes with civilians in prayer.
"I would pull AMCOM employees aside and pray with them wherever we met because I knew I might not get the opportunity later. With a Soldier unit, you can always find Soldiers when you need to. But, with civilians, they come and go, and you lose opportunities to share your faith," he said.
In his retirement, DuBose plans to continue his ministry, teaching, speaking and substituting in Baptist churches in the Montgomery area.
"As a chaplain and a pastor, you build relationships and you share your faith in both small and large ways. You may not see the results of your efforts, the fruit of your work, but, it's still important to invest in people's lives, to do to God's work, to touch people's souls," he said.
"As an Army chaplain, my purpose was to nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the dead. As a civilian pastor, my purpose will continue as I minister to God's people."