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News > Dispatch from the Front: Scott chaplain keeps spirits high in Afghanistan
 
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Deployed chaplain helps SF members
Chaplain (Capt.) Michael Carey, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain, visits Airman 1st Class Kyle Smith, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, while on the job at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Chaplain Carey is assigned to the 455th ESFS to help deal the the stresses of deployment and to increase morale. Chaplain Carey is deployed from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and Airman Smith is deployed from Andrews AFB, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard)
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Dispatch from the Front: Scott chaplain keeps spirits high in Afghanistan

Posted 3/23/2011   Updated 3/24/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman Amber R. Kelly-Herard
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


3/23/2011 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Members of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron have a high-stress job defending the base.

Chaplain (Capt.) Michael Carey is deployed here to ease some of the stress and meet the spiritual needs of the 455th ESFS members.

"They belong to me spiritually," said Chaplain Carey, who is deployed from Scott Air Force Base. "I visit them with my chaplain's assistant while they are on the job, and every weekend I perform nine field services.

"I also counsel the Airmen on any problems they may be having," he said. "I am supposed to stop their distractions and help them manage the issues of their lives so they can stay focused on the mission."

The 455th ESFS is divided into several sectors and Chaplain Carey and his chaplain's assistant, Staff Sgt. Derek Johnson, deployed from Robbins AFB, Ga., visit one sector a day. He and his staff go where the Airmen are, which includes going in the watch towers or other posts that they are required to go to during their job. This also means facing some of the dangers the members also face.

"We try to spend a good amount of time with them to have a nice conversation," said Chaplain Carey.

Compared to Scott, the job here is different due to the environment.

"They have to watch the perimeter of the base and defend us," he said. "They face constant threat, so working here is more intense because the stress is more intense."

The chaplain's other focus is to stay on top of morale.

Chaplain Carey acquired 40 radios for the squadron to increase morale.

"They have to stand watch for 12 hours, some of them are by themselves, and they have to keep their eyes watching so they can't read, so it could get pretty boring," said the chaplain. "At least the radios can be there to listen to for some entertainment."

Both the chaplain and chaplain's assistant try to get to know each of the hundreds of members in the squadron, which can get challenging, especially when the turnover of members takes place.

In addition to helping Security Forces members, Chaplain Carey and Sergeant Johnson bring clothes to Afghan locals at the Egyptian Field Hospital at Bagram Airfield, and candy to Afghan children.



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