Every job in the Air Force plays a vital role to ensure mission success. One job has a behind-the-scenes role which is crucial for the guidance and support into the daily lives of Airmen—both in and out of uniform.
The 56th Fighter Wing Chapel at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., is comprised of four chaplains and three chaplain assistants who are ready, willing and able to help Airmen 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“For Airmen that need guidance or have problems, the chaplain’s office is the first step in getting the help they need,” said Major David Barns, 56th FW deputy chaplain. “We want to be a safe place for any Airmen to come and talk.”
Airmen can utilize the services of chaplain office for religious guidance, confidential counseling, or simply for someone to help guide them through daily struggles. Chaplains want Airmen to feel comfortable coming to them for any type of support they might need.
“It doesn’t have to be a religious or spiritual need to come talk to us,” Barns said. “If they just need somebody to talk to, that’s okay. We are here for all Airmen, no matter what!”
According to Barns, chaplains have a close relationship with virtually every helping agency on base. If Airmen need to communicate with other agencies on base, chaplains can establish the connections and get Airmen the services they need.
“We meet Airmen at the place of their needs,” said Barns. “Airmen can talk to a chaplain or we know the first sergeants, commanders and leadership so when they need to talk to someone, we can channel them in the right direction.”
In addition to contacting a chaplain for personal meetings, the chaplain’s office also hosts a wide variety of community outreach programs to boost morale and bring Airmen together. From monthly flight line feasts, the dorm ministry center, vacation bible school or even an annual trip to the Grand Canyon, the chaplain’s office makes every effort possible to get to know all the Airmen at Luke.
Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Ken Turner is currently a volunteer for the chapel and has witnessed the impact of the community outreach programs first hand.
“Our chaplain’s office at Luke is very unique,” Turner said. “There is no other place like it in the country. It is amazing what we do here and what we make available to the Airmen.”
According to Turner, the amount of time the chaplains and their staff spend getting to know the Airmen is an essential step in building a positive relationship. The chaplain office is constantly looking for new, fun and inviting ways to interact with Airmen and their families.
“They don’t just preach on Sundays,” said Turner. “They reach out to every Airmen and make sure they are comfortable and are taken care of. The things they do here are absolutely phenomenal.”
Chaplains generally see an Airman with an appointment inquiry within 24 hours but try to get them in the same day the request is made.
Appointments can be scheduled with a chaplain by calling the Luke Chapel at 623-856-6211. For after duty hour requests, call the command post and ask to speak to a chaplain.