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Chaplains Protecting Rights, Boosting Morale
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield - March 13, 2015

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"Mere Chance" by David G. Bancroft

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F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. - They assist when possible, and are always ready to listen to people's problems and provide spiritual guidance. They help Airmen whenever they can and work to boost the morale of service members and their families.

Chaplains exist to protect service members' constitutional right of freedom of religion.

Capt. James Calledo, chaplain, 90th Missile Wing Catholic priest, gives a sermon during a Catholic Mass Jan. 25, 2014, at the High Plains Chapel on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Mass is held daily at 11:30 a.m. and Sundays at 9:15 a.m. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)
Capt. James Calledo, chaplain, 90th Missile Wing Catholic priest, gives a sermon during a Catholic Mass Jan. 25, 2014, at the High Plains Chapel on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

"That goes for any faith group," said Chaplain (Maj.) Gary Coburn, 90th Missile Wing deputy wing chaplain. "If I can't perform something, if I can't provide it myself then, I can provide for it-- meaning I get someone else. It's to protect your freedom of religion."

Chaplain (Capt.) James Calledo, 90th MW Catholic priest, recently arrived on base and, like all chaplains, he is qualified to counsel the base populous regardless of their religion affiliation.

"Chaplains are the ones who are supposed to take care of the spiritual needs of Airmen," Calledo said. I'm a Catholic priest for the Catholic population of F.E. Warren, but I'm a chaplain for all."

Day-to-day, chaplains have a variety of tasks they complete-- from unit visitation and advising leadership on spiritual matters, to their normal religious duties. A large portion of what they do involves working with people in the Warren community that seek the chaplains' council.

"Not all Airmen would come to me seeking spiritual guidance," Calledo said. "More often than not, [Airmen] come here with problems regarding work or their personal lives."

Chaplains are available whenever people need someone to talk to and listen to their problems, he said.

"I believe our goal is to boost the morale of Airmen," Calledo said. "That's our role. We make ourselves available for them especially during moments of crisis and difficulties."

Outside of counseling, chaplains work with the organizations and leadership across the base.

Capt. Robert Tilley, 90th Missile Wing Protestant chaplain, talks with a congregation member after the Protestant Contemporary service Jan. 25, 2014, in the Chapel Activities Center on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. A portion of what chaplains do involves counseling service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)
Capt. Robert Tilley, 90th Missile Wing Protestant chaplain, talks with a congregation member after the Protestant Contemporary service Jan. 25, 2014, in the Chapel Activities Center on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. A portion of what chaplains do involves counseling service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

"On a day-to-day scale, chaplains do a lot of unit visitation, getting to know commanders, first sergeants and the [Airmen] themselves," Coburn said.

Chaplain assistants help with keeping the chaplains focused on their mission and allowing them to focus on the base populous.

"We couldn't get our job done without them," Coburn said. "They do a lot of administrative work, a lot of the things that keep the chapels operating, which free us up to do other things such as counseling and meeting people's spiritual needs."

Chaplain assistants sometimes directly assist Airmen and help create a bridge between the rank gap.

"Many times a young airmen first class might be intimidated to come and talk to a major who's a chaplain," Coburn said. "There have been times to where I have had a chaplain assistant talk with Airmen and others who would open up with the chaplain assistant before they would open up to me."

Chaplain assistants provide Airmen another avenue they can use to get help.

"[Personnel and their families] can be assured there is someone who will listen to them unconditionally and with total confidentiality," Calledo said. "That's one way we can boost the morale of Airmen."

By U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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