What Do Chaplains Do Anyway? Part 3

Visitation. Lots of visitation. Every Air Force base is composed of numerous groups of people organized around a particular tasking which are called Squadrons. Each chaplain is assigned to a number of squadrons. I currently have a very large squadron, two smaller ones, and am the point chaplain for a large tenant unit that is located here. As one Commander shared with me, I'm only good to him if his troops know who the chaplain is. So chaplains spend a lot of time out where the troops are getting to know them and what they do.

There is always a chaplain on call 24/7. The duty chaplain will visit the work areas that are spinned up after normal duty hours like the hospital, the Command Post, various security posts and service areas.

The Air Force has a neat term for this: "Ministry of Presence". We are not out there necessarily pushing religion down anyone's throat, but we are out there to let the troops know that someone cares about them and is available to them if they need someone just to listen. Its wonderful to see how much an encouraging word can mean to our folks.

Saturday I spent the afternoon visiting with families of children who have cancer. The base sponsors a special Christmas gathering for them every year complete with activities, plays, music, and of course Santa. There were loads of volunteers there giving their time to make it a special time for the kids and families from firefighters, security forces folks, pilots with some aircraft available to tour and so forth. It was a wonderful opportunity to not only support these families but to show appreciation for the airmen who so willingly gave of their time and efforts for them.