A retired U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain from Cape Coral was sworn back into active duty Thursday during a ceremony at the Iwo Jima monument.
Maj. Vince Cummings, a former president of the Department of Florida's Reserve Officers of America and national chaplain for the Reserve Officers of America, retired in February from serving the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
He had served as chaplain since 2000. For nearly 12 years prior to that, Cummings was a chaplain for the U.S. Army National Guard and Reserve.
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Jim Dozier, left, swears Maj. Vince Cummings, a retired chaplain, back into active duty Thursday during a commissioning ceremony at the Iwo Jima monument. Mary Andrews holds the Bible for Cummings, her grandson, during his reappointment.
On Thursday, he was reappointed out of retirement during a commissioning ceremony at Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve. Cummings will serve as the battalion chaplain for the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion located out of Miami.
"Thirty-nine is too young to retire," he said of returning to active duty.
Cummings added that the military is in need of chaplains.
"But most importantly, the unique mission of the unit," he said.
According to Cummings, the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion is a special operations unit that works in Central and South America. It represents the U.S. government and helps to improve the quality of life for U.S. allies.
"It helps build hospitals, schools," he said.
While serving as an Air Force Reserve chaplain, his unit was stationed in Bulgaria. It raised $3,000 for a heart monitor for a children's hospital.
"To show American caring and support," he said.
As battalion chaplain, Cummings will provide religious support to the members of the unit and will serve as a liaison during team operations in different communities by engaging with each ones religious leaders.
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jim Dozier swore Cummings back in. Dozier said the return to active duty indicates Cummings' desire to continue to his country.
"The military needs leadership, and he is a leader," he said.
"I think that makes him a very special person," Dozier added.
Cummings joined the U.S. Army National Guard at age 17, while he was a senior at Cape Coral High School. With the reappointment Thursday, he can serve up to 16 more years before he is faced with mandatory retirement.
"It's an honor to wear the uniform and a privilege to serve the Republic," Cummings said.