BATTLE CREEK AIR NATIONAL GUARD, Mich. --
BATTLE CREEK, Mich., – Master Sgt. Chris Kronenwetter, the 110th Wing’s former chaplain office superintendent has been named the recipient of the 2021 Minuteman Award Outstanding Air National Guard Religious Affairs Airman of the Year. The award is given annually to one Religious Affairs Airman for excellence in his/her field, and for going above and beyond typical responsibilities.
Kronenwetter’s leadership nominated him for the 2021 Minuteman Award for his outstanding work in the Wing and the State of Michigan. He contributes his success to a supportive family, leadership, and peers that cultivate an environment for professional growth.
“Accolades are not an individual accomplishment. It depends on developing mutual trust and respect within a team who has the same focus as you, and building on that. I am humbled that the leader of our team felt my accomplishments were worthy of an award, but I feel without everyone’s contributions to the team it would have been difficult for me to achieve this award,” said Kronenwetter.
Kronenwetter’s father shared stories of his time in the Army inspiring him to enlist in the Air Force in 1990. With a desire to settle down with a family he transitioned to the Air National Guard in 1996. But it wasn't until his 20th year of service that he happened upon a position in the Wing’s chaplain's office.
After overhearing the chaplain’s office superintendent talking about retiring, Kronenwetter jokingly said “I’ll replace you.” The next day she walked by his office and said, “you are going to start shadowing me next guard drill,” said Kronenwetter.
Leadership was in his future as the next superintendent of the chaplain’s office and to prepare for the position he absorbed as much knowledge as he could during religious affairs technical school. Upon return, he entered an office ready and willing to be guided.
“The 110th chaplain corps was staffed with other experienced chaplains and Religious Affairs Airmen, which I relied on heavily, and they made my adjustments to the career field a smooth transition,” said Kronenwetter.
Now, the 110th Wing chaplain’s office and the Michigan Air National Guard chaplain corps rely heavily on Kronenwetter's experience, knowledge, and will to excel at his position.
“With regard to ministry, Master Sgt. Kronenwetter is beyond comparison. He has not only supported fellow Religious Affairs Airmen within the Wing and across the Air National Guard, he has helped minister me toward a positive and successful beginning to my tenure, and continues to be a trusted sounding board with unending support.” said Lt. Col. Kurt Taylor, 110th Wing head chaplain.
His expertise has helped the Wing through a critical time of need, not only for the restriction of movement implemented to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 virus, but for the COVID-19 vaccine religious exemption process.
“Kronenwetter immediately stepped in as lead when full-time chaplains were not able as the face of the chaplains presence, responding to the needs of countless Airmen in very isolating and difficult situations,” said Taylor. “Not only did he assist administratively in the success of our religious exemption efforts, but he was the one looking after the spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being of his two chaplains during the process.”
All the while, Kronenwetter established a training plan and oversaw progress of fellow RAA’s 5 and 7 levels and transformed Air Force Chaplain Corps Activity Reporting System (AFCCARS) responsibilities, into a workable, usable format. He also prepared his replacement when called to assist at the Selfridge Air National Guard Chaplain’s office. And his efforts did not cease when he took on rebuilding the SANG chaplain team in the absence of their head chaplain.
“Master Sgt. Kronenwetter singlehandedly identified, interviewed, and in consultation with me, selected worthy airmen to become RAA’s for the chapel at the 127th Wing filling all seven slots in less than a year,” said Taylor. “In addition, a new chaplain has been hired and another is in-processing soon to the 127th chaplain’s office.”
Kronenewetter’s ability to adapt to new settings is shown by the success he leaves in his wake. He consistently exceeds requirements leaving a program and environment in better shape than he had entered it. The quality work he does shows he truly cares about the people he serves.
“The military has given me a job I truly love and makes me want to reach higher levels. It has allowed me to engage with other squadrons and learn the jobs that others do to keep our country at the peak of military readiness.”
Kronenwetter exemplifies the Air Force core values and demonstrates the true meaning of serving his faith, family, community, organization, state and country.
“In this career, I didn’t realize how many members relied on the chaplain corps for spiritual strength but after being in the chaplain corps for seven years, I have seen with my own eyes the significant importance of what the chaplain corps provides to the whole community of the members of the Air National Guard and the Air Force itself.”