On Duty

Duty Chaplain

24/7 one of the chaplains holds duty. There is always a chaplain available. As our staff is in major transition right now, I find myself quite busy. Our Wing Chaplain is out of the office and out deputy and senior protestant positions are vacant. All our protestant chaplains except myself are either deployed, preparing to retire or leave the Air Force, or preparing to move to a new base. But we have replacements coming. However, for those leaving, there is much to consume their time in making preparations. Our other chaplain, our Roman Catholic, will deploy very soon. Fortunately we have a well trained and knowledgable enlisted staff and NCOIC who are providing the crucial assistance to make sure everything gets done.

Busy. So far just this duty cycle I've had numerous opportunties to counsel with some service members about anxiety related to work load and the stress it takes when one is facing separation from one's family. I do a lot of counseling which I cannot touch on because such is sheltered by confidentiality. But I find it very touching the level of trust and how often I'm invited to play a role in the personal lives of people who serve our nation.

I've comforted two families who lost loved ones. One touched not only myself but all those present as our hospital staff responded to a 4 month old brought to our hospital because we were the closest. Her funeral is Tuesday and I hope to be able to attend. She was such a beautiful little baby and she had a very beautiful family. It was a true honor to minister to this family.

I conducted Good Friday services last night. It was a beautiful spring evening here and the temperature was just right. Tomorrow I'll conduct two services and manage the Easter Sunrise service since I am the Project Officer for this service. This is a very special service held outside at the base golf course followed by an outstanding breakfast at the facilities there.

Being on duty can bring a high paced kind of day, as the duty chaplain responds to all needs that cannot be met by other chaplains because of previous obligations 24/7. Last night for instance I spent about 45 minutes at 2 in the morning comforting someone who just wanted to talk after receiving some bad news. That's great. It's what I'm here for. That is the great thing about being a chaplain in the Air Force -- there is not time to get bored, the job provides so many wonderful opportunities to make a difference, and I couldn't work with a better or more honorable group of people.