Quest to inspire readiness

Chap. (Capt.) Emmanuel Okwaraocha (Air Force photograph)

Recently, the Air Force Chief of Chaplains visited some of our deployed Airmen in an undisclosed location. I happened to be one of those Airmen.

The distinguished visitor came to encourage and motivate us. He was there to give us the spiritual and moral support we earnestly needed to succeed in our expeditionary tasks. The Chief of Chaplains was on a mission to inspire us to readiness, which is his top priority, and a constant for all chaplains in particular and Air Force leaders in general.

Our Air Force leaders inspire us to readiness in various ways:

* Airmen are inspired when they receive top-notch training and mentoring from their leaders
* Air Force leaders inspire Airmen when they dedicate time to visit and engage them in their work place – flight line, guard post, workshop, office, and others.
* Air Force leaders inspire readiness when Airmen emulate their responsible work ethics.
* Our leaders inspire us when they motivate and encourage us to uphold the Air Force core values: Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in all we do.
* Air Force leaders inspire Airmen when they champion innovation and creativity.
* Our leaders also inspire us to readiness when they comport themselves, communicate, and wear their uniforms.
* Above all, Air Force leaders inspire readiness and hence, demonstrate effective leadership as they take care of the greatest assets of the organization – Airmen and their families.

During his visit with the troops, the Chief of Chaplains enjoined us always to inspire fellow Airmen to readiness. He said that we should always ask ourselves at the end of each duty day, “What did I do today to inspire readiness?” His crucial message resonated with the troops. 

The Chaplain Corps secures the First Amendment Rights to religious freedom for Airmen, and chaplains also advise leaders and commanders on related issues. Under the backdrop of religious pluralism, chaplains of diverse faith groups provide various worship services for Airmen and their families.

Simply put, Air Force chaplains respect and care for all Airmen and their families, who believe in God as well as those who do not, in furtherance of their mission to inspire readiness.

Chaplains also conduct counseling sessions with Airmen and their families. Some of the counseling cases chaplains attend to include: stress and work-related issues, suicide ideation, marital and non-marital relationship issues, legal and financial worries, various forms of addiction, conscientious objection and combat-related issues, sexual assault, death, grief, general guidance and others.

From personal experience, a chaplain feels fulfilled when a spiritual care he or she renders to an Airman in crisis results in the Airman’s healing and ability to go back to work.

Any relevant spiritual care chaplains and religious affairs Airmen render to their fellow Airmen that enables them to be fit-to-fight Airmen, is the raison d’etre for the Chaplain Corps.  

The essence of inspiring readiness is to produce agile and resilient Airmen who always aim at building and sustaining the world’s greatest Air Force that ensures the continued security, success and prosperity of our nation.

One can discern that the Chaplain Corps is on top of this crucial responsibility of inspiring readiness via the myriads of religious services, resiliency events and counseling opportunities it provides for Airmen and their families.