ABOVE: The Post Chapel at Orlando Air Base, located in tropical garden environs is unique in that it is the only chapel in the entire army that has its steeple on the ground and to the side of the chapel. The chapel is so near the end of an airdrome runway that Army planes zoom low over this building as they approach and take off from the flying field, necessitating the strange location of the chapel steeple. Photo by Public Relations Section, Orlando Air Base.
It was a very interesting community back then because you had some retired Air Force people, a lot of active duty Air Force people, and you had a lot of people that were in transit. The Vietnam War was going on so you had young men, women getting married often prior to deployment. You had the Baptisms, the First Holy Communions, the church gatherings. There were a lot of picnics, a lot of things like that. There was a large group of altar boys. I was one of them. We also unfortunately had the funerals for some of these when they came back from Vietnam….
ABOVE: May 12, 2012 photo of David Black, left, and his good friend, John Moore at John’s home in Orlando, Florida.
David Black recalls the chapel of the old Orlando Air Force Base where his family attended church in this conversation with his good friend, John Moore.
The Black family came to Orlando in 1965 when David’s father, a colonel in the Air Force, was transferred here from Scott Air Force Base. David’s mother, Delores Black, served as sacristan at the chapel for over 30 years from 1966 to 1997 and David served as an altar server. David Black’s friend, John Moore salvaged the chapel steeple and cupola from the Orlando Naval Training Center demolition as John shares in this oral history interview at his home on May 10, 2012.
The Stephen L. Rusk Memorial Chapel on the WWII Army Air Base, which later became the Orlando Naval Training Center, served the spiritual needs of generations of military personnel and their families of all religious faiths in our community.