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Chaplains build spiritual resilience in unit work centers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shannon Moorehead, 375th Air Mobility wing

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – As one of the four pillars of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness, spiritual resilience is a key component of over-all growth and development. It’s defined as the ability to sustain one's sense of self and purpose through a set of beliefs, principles or values.

To help build and maintain the spiritual resilience of service members, provide personal guidance and advocate for Airmen, Scott’s Chaplains recently repositioned themselves into unit work centers.

“Instead of being centrally located at the Chapel, Airmen now have easier access to this resource,” said Master Sgt. Frederick Hart, 375th Chapel Religious Affairs NCO.  “The goal of the spiritual domain is to develop and determine a sense of purpose in life and the mission. It helps us to maintain balance in our lives during difficult and stressful periods in our life.”

Airmen can experience stressful events both at home station and deployed, which is why spiritual resilience is an essential part of overall wellness.

Spiritual resilience is the ability to bounce back when hit with adversity, but it may not look the same for everyone, according to Hart.

“Developing resilience is a personal journey. Your journey or tool kit of resiliency will look different than those around you,” he added.

Since the repositioning, Chaplain (Maj.) Jeromy Wells said they’ve become more valuable to the commanders, first sergeants and the Airmen.

“We’ve found that when we integrate and embed ourselves in the unit, our ability to provide support to commanders and Airmen is exponential. We’re a safe and sacred space. For me, the Chaplain Corps and privileged communication is about protecting the seal of what someone shares. All of us, every Airman, needs a safe and sacred space.”

The spiritual support provided by the Chaplain Corps is not exclusive to religion or those who are religious. These embedded chaplains and their assistants are there to assist all service members, regardless of rank, in developing the tools needed to maintain their growth and development.

At the 375th Communications squadron, where Wells is embedded, positive feedback has been received from both the Airmen and leadership members.

Being incorporated with the unit the chaplain often walks around checking on Airmen and leadership and assisting when needed. This provides the opportunity to open a dialogue and shows that they are always there if needed.

“I know that if I’m having a bad day I can walk down the hallway and into his office,” said Master Sgt. Brooke McKee, 375th Communications Squadron first sergeant. “It’s just a huge relief. He’s been a great asset to have in our unit.”