Civil Air Patrol honors Southeast Region chaplain

David Smesler

Lt. Col. David R. Smelser was named the 2020 Senior Chaplain of the Year for the Southeast Region, Civil Air Patrol.

Smelser serves as the Wing Chaplain for Mississippi Wing, Civil Air Patrol. 

He is a retired correctional chaplain from the Mississippi Department of Corrections and also is a retired Air Force Reserve chaplain.

The southeast region includes Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Puerto Rico.

“Out of five states they chose me and I am very honored to have been given this opportunity,” Smelser said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Smelser said it has been more of a challenge to stay connected.

“It is harder because we are not meeting as an organization right now,” Smelser said. “We have had to cancel our meetings, and state and regional conferences. We rely on the internet to have staff meetings, and stay connected.”

Smelser holds a bachelor of science degree from Troy State University and a masters of divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also completed graduate studies at Webster University and the University of West Alabama. He has completed clinical pastoral education in healthcare and corrections. He is a native of Mobile, Alabama and is married to the former Janet Cox.

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