An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | Aug. 22, 2022

State command chaplain pitches faith as local baseball coach

By 1st Lt. Balinda O'Neal , Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

Alaska National Guard State Command Chaplain (Col.) Ted McGovern stood behind home plate in his operational camouflage pattern uniform, a stark contrast to his team’s red and blue jerseys sporting a Chinook salmon logo, as he delivered the opening prayer during a military appreciation baseball game in Chugiak, July 14, 2022.
“Our founding fathers rightly said that it was you the sovereign God of all who is the source and giver of our freedom,” McGovern prayed. “May we never take it for granted, and may we never forget those who down through the generations have stood up and defended it.”

Since 1775, Army chaplains have supported the spiritual, moral and emotional wellbeing of Soldiers and their families. McGovern serves not only the Alaska Guard family, but also the communities surrounding JBER as an assistant coach for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks, a local collegiate-level baseball team.

“In both roles, chaplain and coach, one thing that they have in common is helping people,” said McGovern, explaining that his mission in the Guard enables him to help service members with whatever they are walking through in their life.

“It’s the same thing with our baseball players,” said McGovern, who is committed to developing the players both on and off the field. “The two really go together, and it’s really neat to be able to serve this way.”

In addition to helping people, McGovern said that teamwork is a common theme found in the military and sports teams.

“The Army values translate over into athletic teams,” said McGovern, who likes to concentrate on loyalty, duty and selfless service as it applies to America’s favorite pastime. “We want to do what is best for the team, and the guys will lay down a bunt sacrificing their turn at bat to make sure the team succeeds.”

Tim Barto, the president of the team’s booster club, said it was great for the team, a faith-based organization, to have both a local guy and service member mentor the young players.

“He has a very quiet presence, and his faith is very deep, and that is sensed by the ball players,” said Barto, who served in the Marines, Army National Guard and ultimately retired from the Navy Reserve. “He adds a lot to their discipleship programs because of that.”

On gamedays, the team participates in 90 minutes of discipleship before heading to the ballpark. Athletes in Action, the organization that sponsors the local team, places emphasis on helping the team members grow in their personal faith while developing their baseball skills.

“I love this organization,” said Barto. “We are a community-based team who has a parent organization that allows us to spread the gospel through athletics. That is why Chaplain Ted McGovern is such a perfect fit for this group.” 

McGovern fields questions from league players about his 29 years of Army service, from what the military and National Guard are like to what happens over drill weekend.

“For some of them, the military is going to be an option, and I hope that somehow I have shown them that they can serve,” said McGovern, who arrives after work to practice in his OCP uniform before changing into his other team’s colors. “I hope that some of them come and serve with us and if not in our state, then their state.”

Prior to becoming a chaplain, McGovern commissioned as an Army combat engineer officer through the United States Military Academy in 1993. Throughout his career, McGovern participated in operational deployments to Kuwait, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Iraq.

McGovern said that while he was still on active duty God called him to ministry.

“It was as if I’d always known,” said McGovern. “Also, in that moment, as I thought back on my life, I recounted several times that God had been working on me and preparing me for this calling to serve the Lord.”

As the senior chaplain and full-time support chaplain for the AKNG, McGovern provides fundamental focus and direction of the Chaplain Corps by nurturing the living, caring for the wounded and honoring the fallen.

McGovern emphasized the importance of Alaska Guardsmen volunteering and giving back to the communities they serve in.

“I believe that the National Guard, since the founding of our country, has been a real important part of our communities,” said McGovern. “We are a community organization and this is our home.”

McGovern echoed his sentiment for service both on and off the field.

“I love to coach the game,” said McGovern, who also volunteers as a varsity baseball coach at Grace Christian High School in Anchorage. “It’s a blessing to be able to serve both teams.”

Nestled against the Chugach mountain range at the Loretta French Sports Complex, McGovern ended his prayer focusing on one of the reasons why the fans were cheering that night – appreciation and support of U.S. service members.

“As we play our game tonight, may it be a celebration of who we are as a people,” McGovern prayed. “Please oh Lord, bless our military with us tonight and please protect our men and women in uniform who serve in harm’s way, away from families and homes. We pray all this in your holy name, amen.”
Alaska Air National Guard rescues hypothermic mariner near Kodiak
June 3, 2024
Alaska Air National Guard trains with Coast Guard at Air Station Kodiak

AKANG 176th Wing Rescue Triad conducts water rescue training in Alaska
June 3, 2024
Alaska Air National Guard pararescuemen from the 212th Rescue Squadron conduct underway hoist training in the Prince William Sound near Whittier, Alaska, May 16, 2024. The Airmen of the 212th RQS are trained, equipped, and postured to conduct full-spectrum personnel recovery to include both conventional and unconventional rescue operations. The 212th, along with the 210th and 211th RQSs, make up the 176th Wing Rescue Triad and are among the busiest combat search and rescue units in the world. (Alaska National Guard photo by Alejandro Peña)

Alaska Army Guardsmen compete in Best Warrior Competition 2024
May 21, 2024
laska Army National Guard Sgt. Brendan White, an infantryman assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, is awarded 2024 Noncomissioned Officer of the Year in a closing ceremony during the AKARNG’s State Best Warrior Competition at Camp Carroll on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 18, 2024.

Gobi Wolf 2024 strengthens partnerships for disaster resilience
May 20, 2024
Airman 1st Class Stefany Brummer, a fire protection specialist with the Alaska Air National Guard, operates the backup safety line during the Field Training Exercise’s high-angle rescue techniques training at Gobi Wolf 2024 in Choibalsan, Mongolia, May 9. The teams showcased best practices in safely extracting trapped individuals from precarious situations.

Alaska National Guard kicks off initial phase of Kodiak Arctic Care ‘24
May 9, 2024
Members of the U.S. Public Health Service offload from an Alaska Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 144th Airlift Squadron, 176th Wing, during Kodiak Arctic Care 24 Innovative Readiness Training Mission at Kodiak, Alaska, May 6, 2024.

Alaska Air Guard’s 168th Wing Refuels Red Flag Exercise
May 8, 2024
A U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon approaches the boom of a 168th Wing KC-135 Stratotanker during Red Flag Alaska 24-1 aerial refueling operations over Alaska April 24, 2024. The 168th Wing provided air refueling during the exercise.

Exercise Gobi Wolf 2024 Begins in Heart of Mongolian Steppe
May 8, 2024
Brig. Gen. B. Uuganbayar, left, deputy director of the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency, presents a commemorative anniversary plaque to Australian Maj. Gen. Scott Winter, deputy commanding general - strategy and plans for the U.S. Army Pacific, during the Gobi Wolf 2024 opening ceremony at the Governor’s Palace in Choibalsan, Mongolia, May 7, 2024. Gobi Wolf is an annual joint exercise coordinated by the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Army Pacific that focuses on interagency coordination within Mongolia, as well as foreign humanitarian assistance during a large-scale natural disaster.

Alaska State Defense Force volunteerism shines at Mat-Su Arctic Winter Games
April 24, 2024

First annual AKNG Earth Day inspires youth, brings awareness to military’s role in conservation
April 24, 2024

U.S. Army and Marine Corps forge joint efforts to enhance aviation tactics
April 23, 2024
An Alaska Army National Guard UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 207th Aviation Troop Command performs a defensive maneuver while evading a simulated aerial threat during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 2-24 near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., March 28, 2024.