JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. - An inviting smile and handshake is how many from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling have come to know Master Sgt. Ray King Jr., a chaplain’s assistant and base non-commissioned officer-in-charge (NCOIC) of chapel programs.
An Air Force reservist currently on active-duty, King is entering his last assignment and final week at JBAB with many emotions. While he’s sad to leave such a wonderful staff and caring community behind him, he takes pride in what was accomplished and all he participated in during his eight months on base.
For that, in addition to the many words of thanks and smiles he’s shared with friends during that time, he’s forever grateful.
“Working with good people really energizes me. I certainly had that here,” King said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be assigned than JBAB. I’ll cherish each and every memory forever.”
King has spent 28 years in the Air Force. His career spans several fields, including computers, ground radar operations and a brief two-year stint in intelligence. He will be taking his talents to nearby Joint Base Andrews, where he will continue as a chaplain’s assistant and do all he can to help its wounded warrior program. He plans to retire once that assignment is completed.
After moving to the Washington, D.C. area several years ago, King said he was committed to working in a different career field and that he wanted to do something important and challenging in his own life. He considered many different areas, even the possibility of becoming a paralegal, but it was the Chaplain Corps. that appealed most.
“Anyone with beliefs or matters of conscience can talk to someone like me and know there will be confidentiality. That means a lot,” King said. “That’s a big plus for someone who has problems dealing with their own feelings. We’re an outlet people feel comfortable with. I feel really good about that.”
He has worked alongside numerous organizations while at JBAB, such as the Public Works Department which was instrumental along with King in the Chapel Center’s recent kitchen renovation. As a chaplain’s assistant, he has stepped up during the Feds Feed Families food drive and has been a champion for all Catholic and Protestant religious activities at the chapel.
As someone who takes pride in working out, King has also joined some of his colleagues and friends in the community for laps around the base track as a means of encouraging them to stay in shape and get healthy.
Before officially retiring from military life, King said he would like one last overseas assignment. He’s already been to Norway, Italy, Kuwait, Qatar and spent two years in Germany. Aside from that, he’s looking forward to spending more time at home with his wife, Yuliana, and three children, Maria, Alexander and Daniel.
He has some time coming up before starting his next assignment and has hinted at visiting Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts - the same area where his father, Ray Sr., grew up. A while back, King wrote a children’s book on how to play chess and senses a hankering to do something like that again. Or maybe take things a step further.
“I’ve thought about going into teaching when I retire, so that’s always a possibility,” King said. “I really enjoy working with young people and being around their enthusiasm. My big thing is to never get caught up in anything that prohibits you from helping others.”