Daniel Pulju of the U.S. Air Force

Daniel Pulju of the U.S. Air Force is promoted to the rank of Colonel in St. Paul on Apr. 18. Pulju will continue to serve his community, state, and nation, by supporting the spiritual needs of the Airmen across the Minnesota Air National Guard.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Daniel J. Pulju, of Pine County, was promoted to the rank of colonel in the presence of family and friends April 18, during a ceremony led by U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Sandy Best, deputy adjutant general of the MN National Guard, at the 133rd Airlift Wing base chapel.

Pulju has served in the Minnesota National Guard since 1999 and as the 133rd Airlift Wing Chaplain since 2018. As the Wing Chaplain, he advises leadership on all matters related to the religious and moral welfare of 1,200 Wing personnel and is responsible to develop effective programs to meet the spiritual needs of Airmen and their families.

Pulju is a native of northern Minnesota and graduated from Moorhead State University with an undergraduate degree. He was ordained with the Evangelical Free Church of America in 1991 and received his commission as a 1st Lt. in the Army Chaplain Corps in 1999. Pulju later transferred to the Minnesota Air National Guard in 2007. In the civilian sector, Pulju retired as a chaplain from the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone in 2015. 

In his over 20-year career, he has served on three deployments, participated in multiple training events, and cared for countless airmen and soldiers. “Unquestionably his servant leadership has validated his ‘service before self’ approach to ministry, resulting in today’s promotion. I am 100 percent confident in his abilities,” said Best. 

Pulju’s daughter, U.S. Army Major Rebekah Austin is currently deployed with the MN Army National Guard. “Missing his promotion may be the toughest event to miss during deployment, although maybe being here [deployed] is a perfect testament to him,” Austin said. “My dad is the best example of selfless service, both in and out of uniform, and I am so honored to be his daughter."

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