New CECOM chaplain is in the ‘people business’

By Rachel PonderJune 29, 2023

Chaplain (Col.) Brad Lewis
Chaplain (Col.) Brad Lewis, the new senior chaplain for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and APG (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo ) VIEW ORIGINAL

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Chaplain (Col.) Brad Lewis, the new senior chaplain for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command and APG, looks forward to connecting with the community.

“As a chaplain, my favorite thing is meeting people, getting to know their families, identifying where they have needs, and seeing if I can help them,” he said. “I am in the people business; it is what we [chaplains] do.”

Lewis said the chaplain’s job is a “constitutional” job, guaranteeing the free exercise of religion.

“I am responsible for ensuring the free exercise of religion for all Soldiers, civilians and their families that are in CECOM,” he said. “I am here to make sure that everybody is given the opportunity to practice their faith, and if their faith is at odds with policy, then I become an advocate for them.”

At APG, Lewis has a dual role; he provides religious and spiritual support to CECOM staff and subordinate commands and provides supervision and oversight for all the chaplains on the installation.

One of the highlights of his job, he said, is preaching. He looks forward to preaching for congregations on Sunday at the APG North (Aberdeen) post chapel.

He also enjoys mentoring other chaplains as the senior chaplain on the installation.

“Who doesn’t want to assist the next generation?” he asked.

Called to serve        

Lewis is originally from Sacramento, California.  He said he always felt a calling to serve as a pastor and originally decided to join the military to pay for school.

“’Be All You Can Be’ came on tv, so you know, I joined up to get money for school,” he said.

Lewis also was influenced by his father, who served in the military in the 1950s as a Russian linguist. In 1987, he enlisted in the Army as a 98G voice intercept operator-Russian. While in the military, he decided his goal would be to serve as an Army chaplain.

In 1994, he took a break from service and moved to Springfield, Missouri, to earn a bachelor of arts in biblical studies from Evangel University and a master of divinity from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in 1997.

During that time, he was part of the Chaplain Candidate Program designed for ministry students who want to explore Army Chaplaincy while still in school.

“You get mentored and coached, you learn what it is like to be a chaplain and decide if that is what you want to do,” he said.

Lewis called it a “unique program.” He had no doubt that he wanted to be a chaplain.

In 2001 he rejoined the military as an Army Chaplain. His military education includes Chaplain Officer Basic Course, Command and General Staff College, Joint Special Operations Chaplains Course and Senior Service College.

Lewis said he has moved about 13 times in his career. Some previous assignments include the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.; Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C.; Augsburg, Germany and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He has served in Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel.

To unwind from work, Lewis enjoys hunting and relaxing while appreciating nature. At his new home, he   notices the diverse wildlife that calls APG home.

“Bald eagles fly around, and they roost in the trees behind our house,” he said. “I can hear them talking.”

Living with integrity  

Lewis is married to Tina Lewis of Sacramento, California. They have four adult children, a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law. He considers his family his best achievement.

“That is the greatest thing I have ever been able to pull off,” he said.

Lewis said his motto is “Training for Eternity,” and he considers himself a man of integrity. He cites the story of Queen Esther from the Bible, who bravely risked her life for the Jewish people.

This story illustrates “what God can do when people stand on conviction, do the right thing and listen to His voice,” he said.

“Regardless of your vocation, know what right is, stand on it and don’t be afraid,” he added.