A Family Journey of Faith and Service

  • Published
  • By Eric Sharman
  • Air University Public Affairs

“We’re just a very patriotic family. Love of God, and love of country is paramount in our family, and wanting to serve,” said Lt. Col. Scott Nupson, 42nd Air Base Wing chaplain, describing what has driven so many of his family members to serve in the defense of the United States.

Starting with his father Sgt. Donald L. Nupson, who was the grandson of immigrants, the Nupson family has greatly contributed to the defense of the nation. The elder Nupson served as a bomber radio operator for the Army Air Corps, to which the Air Force traces its heritage during World War II. Further in his immediate family, his brother retired as a c-130 engine mechanic in the Air Force Reserves.

“For years, I never thought about joining the military, there was just other stuff that I wanted to do,” said Nupson. “My brother joined the reserve, and after a year or two of hearing his experiences, I wished I had gone in with him.”

Eventually, he followed his brother into the Air Force, after a visit from a friend who became an Air Force chaplain and he was also serving as an Air Force recruiter showed up to preach at a chapel service while attending seminary.

“The visit from my friend got me considering joining,” said Nupson. “About a year after that I got a mass mailer from the Air Force, and I said “why not?” so next thing I knew, I was signing the dotted line, and was a 36-year-old Air Force chaplain.”

Having completed his Master of Divinity in 1996 at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Minneapolis Minn., he was a fully qualified candidate for the Air Force Chaplain School. Nupson has found great satisfaction in his service as a chaplain.

 “I do a lot of counseling, and when people come to see me with struggles and issues going on, to see the change in them and give them hope, comfort, and encouragement, brings me a lot of joy and encouragement.” said Nupson.

Nupson also finds himself in a mentorship role with those in his extended family who also are serving. In addition to his father and brother, he has a brother-in-law who are veterans of the U.S. Army and Navy, and he has a niece and nephew who served in the Air Force. . Additionally, one of his three daughters recently completed the Air Force Officer’s Qualification Test, and has aspirations to serve.


“I do get phone calls when they have things going on in their lives,” said Nupson. “They know I’m prone to helping, as a chaplain and a family member, so I think they lean into that, and I’m glad to help them.”

Reflecting on his career, Nupson takes great joy knowing he has helped his fellow Airmen and strengthened them through faith and counseling.

“Being a chaplain is a neat opportunity and a great experience because faith and religion are where people get their spiritual resiliency,” said Nupson. “When that is suffering, and people haven’t exercised their spiritual health, that’s when their struggles and difficulties won’t soften”

I’m grateful that I can help people with their struggles, and provide the service with strong Airmen and families,” said Nupson.