Osan Chapel Team leads spiritual charge
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of articles on helping agencies and services provided to ensure Airmen and families remain resilient during their overseas tour.
Spiritual health and well-being is just as important as physical fitness when it comes to an Airman's mission readiness and resiliency.
Chaplains and chaplain’s assistants provide a team approach to help Osan Airmen and family members exercise their constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.
This is accomplished through religious observances, providing pastoral care, and advising senior leaders on spiritual, moral, ethical, morale, core values and religious accommodation issues.
“Because of our rights, we as Americans are allowed to freely express our religion or we can choose not to,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Rolf Holmquist II, 51st Fighter Wing deputy wing chaplain. “Here, we have religious support teams within each unit to talk to Airmen whether they are religious or not.
“Often times we talk to people about stress, work, financial or even disciplinary issues,” said Holmquist. “Our goal is to help balance between helping Airmen and providing religious services for those who wish to partake.”
The chaplain corps has requirements from the Chief of Chaplains of the U.S. Air Force to be present within units and must provide 100 percent confidentiality during counseling.
“We may come from specific religious backgrounds, but we are universally here to help everyone,” said Holmquist.
Chaplain’s assistants usually help with administrative work, including creating schedules and finances of the chapel but they also aide chaplains with unit visits.
“Although we aren’t trained to council, we are able to help de-escalate any issues a person may have,” said Master Sgt. Jason Knight, 51st FW Chapel operations superintendent. “Often times, younger or newer Airmen see rank on the chaplains and can feel intimidated. We assist in ensuring the Airmen know we’re all here to help.”
The Osan Chapel Team offers various programs to help with spiritual fitness and guidance.
“We offer relationship seminars, spiritual resiliency briefings, reintegration programs (for Airmen returning to the states), monthly dorm dinners, orphanage trips and many other opportunities,” said Holmquist.
“In addition, we give coping skills on how to deal with pressure,” he added. “There are various reasons, but we all feel some sort of pressure. In reality, we all have problems, we just need to learn how to deal with them.”
The chapel here has six chaplains and four chaplain’s assistants with various religious backgrounds. However, if a particular service is not offered on base, they can assist to find services within the local community. This particular chapel also has a linguist to help translate with local nationals.
Holmquist added, the number one goal for the Osan Chapel Team is to take care of the Airmen so they can support the mission.
“The military is about defending our country, someone’s job is to turn the wrenches or fly the aircraft,” said Holmquist. “We bring humanity back into play ensuring our Airmen’s spiritual health and well-being is preserved.”
For more information on the Osan Chapel and the services they provide, visit www.facebook.com/OsanABChapel or call DSN 784-5000, commercial 0505-784-5000.