435th AEW chapel team helps lift spirits

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jimmie D. Pike
  • 435th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Comprehensive Airmen Fitness is based on four distinct domains: Physical, Mental, Social, and probably the toughest to maintain in a deployed environment, Spiritual.

For Airmen deployed to multiple locations under the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing, the Wing’s chapel team ensures they are taken care of by checking in with them on a regular basis.

Recently the chapel team visited with Airmen deployed to the 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron at Nigerien Air Base 201, Niger.

“We cover an entire wing consisting of two groups and seven squadrons which are spread across two continents,” said Capt. Sarah Ditto, 435th AEW head chaplain. “This makes it much more critical we take the time to visit the Airmen at these locations to make sure their spiritual needs are being accommodated.”

The accommodations the chapel team seeks to bring to Airmen isn’t always just about religion.

“There are Airmen who are seeking a spiritual side of things to take care of themselves,” said Tech. Sgt. Geoffrey Newland, 435th AEW chaplain assistant. “They may be looking for a specific religion or service, or they may just be looking for a place to meditate and reflect, or a place of quiet and solace. We want to try to assist in every way.”

One of the most important things that Ditto claims her team does is a morale check with Airmen. To do that they walk, talk, work, eat lunch with, and relate to Airmen on a daily basis.

“We want to spend as much time meeting and talking with Airmen as possible so they recognize us,” said Ditto. “We build those relationships so they know who we are, and that they can confide in us if they need.”

When Airmen start to identify the chapel team they become more willing to approach them and seek guidance for personal, profession, or spiritual help. As Airmen receive guidance and enlightening they tend to adopt a more positive outlook.

“I think that our work effects morale in a very positive way,” said Ditto. “It gives Airmen an outlet to strengthen and maintain their spiritual resiliency which in turn helps keep Airmen fit to fight.”