HomeNewsFeatures

Feature Search

Dyess conducts Air Force’s first assumption of the stole

A stole hangs during the assumption of the stole ceremony at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas Mar. 24, 2021.

A stole hangs during the assumption of the stole ceremony at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas Mar. 24, 2021. Much like the tradition of assuming command, assuming the stole – a long, operational camouflaged pattern cloth worn around the neck – signifies the acceptance of responsibility as the new spiritual leader in a new place of service within the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Porter)

Chaplain (Col.) David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, speaks during the assumption of the stole ceremony at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021.

Chaplain (Col.) David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, speaks during the assumption of the stole ceremony at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021. The ceremony was marked as the first in the U.S. Air Force as it aligned with Gen. Timothy Ray’s, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, transformation to the striker culture. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Porter)

Col. Ed Sumangil, 7th Bomb Wing commander, left, speaks during the assumption of the stole ceremony for Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, right, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021.

Col. Ed Sumangil, 7th Bomb Wing commander, left, speaks during the assumption of the stole ceremony for Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, right, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021. The wing chaplain is the spiritual advisor and confidante to the wing commander, providing counsel and encouragement during times of stress and uncertainty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Porter)

Chaplain (Col.) David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, left and Col. Ed Sumangil, 7th Bomb Wing commander, right, place the stole on Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021.

Chaplain (Col.) David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, left and Col. Ed Sumangil, 7th Bomb Wing commander, right, place the stole on Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021. The stole depicts the responsibility placed on the wing chaplain, irrespective of any religion or faith group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Porter)

Chaplain (Col.) David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, left, bestows the crook to Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, right, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021.

Chaplain (Col.) David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, left, bestows the crook to Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, right, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021. As wing chaplain, Rios now accepts many responsibilities such as ensuring the free exercise of religion, to be the leader of spiritual resiliency efforts across the base in order to build Airmen who are comprehensively fit and many other responsibilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Porter)

Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, middle, Chaplain (Col.) David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, left, and Col. Ed Sumangil, 7th Bomb Wing commander, back, along with Rios’ family, pray during his assumption of the stole at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021.

Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, middle, Chaplain (Col.) David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, left, and Col. Ed Sumangil, 7th Bomb Wing commander, back, along with Rios’ family, pray during his assumption of the stole at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021. Rios celebrated his new position with family, friends, his command and chapel team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Porter)

Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, speaks during his assumption of the stole ceremony at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021.

Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, speaks during his assumption of the stole ceremony at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021. Rios was officially named the wing chaplain and accepted the responsibility for the spiritual well-being of the Dyess community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Mercedes Porter)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, 7th Bomb Wing wing chaplain, was bestowed the stole and title as the 7th Bomb Wing’s wing chaplain by Col. Ed Sumangil, 7th Bomb Wing commander, and Chaplain (Col.) David Kelley, Air Force Global Strike Command command chaplain, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Mar. 24, 2021.

Much like the tradition of assuming command, assuming the stole – a long, operational camouflaged pattern cloth worn around the neck – signifies the acceptance of responsibility as the new spiritual leader in a new place of service within the U.S. Air Force.

“The stole is a sacred symbol that reminds me, the wearer, that I owe the people what it signifies, such as trust, credibility and hope,” said Rios. “Being the wing chaplain gives me great responsibility.”

As the wing chaplain, Rios has accepted the responsibility to ensure the free exercise of religion; to be the leader of spiritual resiliency efforts across the base in order to build Airmen who are comprehensively fit; to provide faith-based religious support to meet the varied religious needs of Airmen and their families; to partner with off-base religious leaders to provide ministry to Airmen who sit in their pews, synagogues, and mosque; to provide religious advisement to commanders and leaders as to how religion impacts military operations; to faithfully and humbly lead fellow chaplains who server under their own callings from their god; to mold the character of the children of Airmen who attend religious instruction and education; to care for and support Airmen who may never profess any faith; and ultimately to take responsibility for the spiritual well-being of the Dyess community.

“This ceremony, the first within the Air Force chaplain corps, is also a tangible expression of General Ray’s transformation to the striker culture,” said Kelly. “The wing chaplain in Air Force Global Strike Command is called to be an authentic leader, one who leads with a compelling vision, never asks a subordinate to do something he would not do himself, invests in team members by supporting their families, their career ambitions, and their growth as an Airman, as a human being.”

The wing chaplain is also the spiritual advisor and confidante to the wing commander, providing counsel and encouragement during times of stress and uncertainty.

“This is a great day for our base as we participate in this ceremony,” said Sumangil. “The chaplain corps provides services to our community that many of us do not know. From answering midnight calls for an Airman in distress to counseling those with marriage struggles or life changes, our chaplain corps team is all over the base. And now, they celebrate with Chaplain Rios as he assumes the mantle of responsibility of being the spiritual leader of Team Dyess.”

After the assumption prayer was rendered with Rios’ family on stage with him, Rios gave his final words.

“Becoming wing chaplain has always been my goal, so that I can lead the people to serve under their faith and do what is best for the Dyess community,” said Rios. “I feel honored that the Air Force and Col. Sumangil trusts me to do the job, and I’m very thankful for them and my chapel staff.”