HomeNewsArticle Display

Always there: Chaplains provide source of comfort

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Piotr Gajda, 5th Bomb Wing Catholic chaplain, leads mass at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., April 14, 2014. Chaplains work hard to help people directly, but they also assist Airmen with their presence itself. They also believe the simple act of being hands-on and doing what they do can make them a source of comfort. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Malia Jenkins)

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Piotr Gajda, 5th Bomb Wing Catholic chaplain, leads mass at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., April 14, 2014. Chaplains work hard to help people directly, but they also assist Airmen with their presence itself. They also believe the simple act of being hands-on and doing what they do can make them a source of comfort. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Malia Jenkins)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Minot Air Force Base isn't an easy assignment for everyone, but an option that's often overlooked during times of hardship is the Chaplain Corps.

Chaplains want people to know there's always someone they can turn to, said Maj. Mark Williams, deputy wing chaplain, 5th Bomb Wing. Regardless of faith, religion, belief or absence of belief, a chaplain is there for someone to lean on.

Capt. Anthony L. Wiggins, chaplain, 5th Bomb Wing, describes the Chaplain Corps as "a calming presence and a listening ear." A term used in the Chaplain Corps is ministry of presence; the opportunity to be out with Airmen in their work places to show that chaplains are available.

Although April is the Month of the Military Child, with special events throughout the month, the Chaplain Corps efforts are year-round, said Wiggins. They would like to increase awareness of their presence and availability.

"For us, it's not just this month, though we choose one month to focus on child abuse and neglect and awareness of alcohol abuse, this is something that we see regularly," said Williams. "It tears apart families, it shortens careers and there are so many negative consequences to some of this.

"If we can help people - kind of partner with them, talk to them about where they are, where they need to be, what's going on - we can help them to make good choices."

The chaplains are ready to assist anyone, regardless of religion or worldview, said Wiggins. Chaplains don't turn individuals away, and they work hard to make themselves available. They're a base agency like any other, which means people can make appointments to see them at any time, during the duty day or even after duty if necessary.

"With counseling we address life, career transitions, marital issues, relationships, grief, loss, financial issues - pretty much anything that deals with a person's personal, spiritual or family level," says Wiggins.

Chaplains don't fill an exclusively religious role - they're present to help with personal problems as well, and they're especially serious about respecting the privacy of those who talk to them.

"We are the only agency on base that has 100 percent absolute confidentiality protected under the Military Rule of Evidence 503," said Williams. "This keeps the communication purely between the chaplain and the person that came to speak with him or her.

"Whatever they say to us, it stays with us, it is protected communication."

With over 60 percent of the base on the Personal Reliability Program, that confidentiality can be critical, added Williams.

"Those who are on PRP don't always have the opportunity, or feel that they have the opportunity to go to different places and talk. Whether it could adversely affect their career or someone else's, it doesn't matter, it stays with us," said Williams.

Chaplains bring resources in addition to their presence in that concept by advising leadership at all levels.

"Every day we have an opportunity and are blessed to engage with Airmen and engage with family members," said Williams. "We realize that there are so many more, whether they are in the dorms or base housing, dependents, active duty members - whoever it may be that sometimes feel like they have no other place to go or they don't have anybody that they can talk to."

One way the base chaplains are increasing awareness is through a juice bar at the gym, open Tuesday through Thursday mornings, where they hand out free slushies' and coffee.

While the chaplains work hard to help people directly, they also help Minot Airmen with the Chaplain presence itself, said Wiggins. He further explained that the Chaplain Corps believes that the simple act of being on hand and doing what they do can make them a source of comfort. Even if an Airman never makes an appointment, it can do them good to know that they have the option to advice our counseling from a Chaplain.

"Even while we are not present, we are still with the people we counsel," said Wiggins. "The very values, the aspects, the things that we may have said or done will stick with them when we are not there.

"They always have the option to call or email us no matter what they may be going through."
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Contact Us

To reach the Minot Air Force Base Main Directory, call: Commercial (701) 723-7979 or DSN: 453-7979.   

To request Public Affairs support, please fill out an Air Force Form 833 and email to the Minot AFB Public Affairs workflow mailbox. 

Unfortunately, we are not accepting marquee requests since our marquee board is down for an undetermined amount of time. Thank you for understanding.

FacebookFacebook
InstagramInstagram
TwitterTwitter
FlickrFlickr
YouTubeYouTube