121st Chaplain moonlights as X-ray tech during deployment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ivy Thomas
  • 121st Air Refueling Wing

Master Sgt. Brian Sampson is a Religious Affairs Airman with the 121st Air Refueling Wing. In his civilian job, he is a Computed Tomography (CT) Technologist. He always felt one day his two careers would cross paths, but he didn't know how or when.

The concept of Multi-Capable Airmen allows Guardsmen to use their civilian skills and experiences to provide necessary tasks outside their primary Air Force specialty to accomplish the mission. Master Sgt. Brian Sampson is a great example of a Multi-Capable Airman. 

As a senior in high school, Sampson enlisted into the United States Army in air defense artillery. Later in his Army career, he became an X-ray technician. After leaving the Army, he transitioned to the job of CT technologist as a civilian.

But Sampson’s service to the nation was far from over.

“I had a break in service for 14 years, but I decided I wanted to serve my country again,” said Sampson. 

This time, he decided he wanted to work with the chaplain team. 

“I wanted to do something different than what I do in the civilian world,” Sampson said. “I have religious beliefs, so I thought I would be a good fit.”

In January 2021, he deployed to the Middle East as the Religious Affairs Superintendent Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC). His duties were to oversee all chapel operations, arrange memorial services, lead enlisted personnel, and report chapel statistics to the wing commander. 

When the only X-ray technician on base became ill during the deployment, Sampson was tapped to step up and fill the slot until he recovered.

“I would do my religious affairs job in the chaplain's office and if the medical clinic needed an X-ray, they would call me over to take care of the patient. When I was done, I would return to the office to finish my job there,” said Sampson. “I was doing both.”

If there hadn’t been another X-ray technician on base, patients would’ve needed to be transported to Germany to receive care, said Sampson.

Sampson was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for contributing to the combat and spiritual readiness of 5,250 personnel. He was also lauded by the Medical Group Commander when he stepped up to perform the duties of their Radiology Technologist, resulting in the uninterrupted medical treatment for more than 1,800 wing personnel. 

"I am an X-ray technician at heart, so I was very happy to be able to serve in that way,” said Sampson. “I was proud to be able to take care of Airmen overseas by doing both jobs.”