JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii --
Whether it’s physical, mental, social or spiritual, military service is demanding on Airmen and their families. While everyone who has raised their hand volunteered to follow the orders of those appointed over them, there is a toll that each service member pays for that commitment. Although there are several programs to assist Airmen with their physical, mental, and social needs, it is the mission of the 647th Air Base Group Chaplain Corps to ensure Airmen’s spiritual needs are being met.
The 647th ABG Chaplain Corps at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, provides a wide range of services and ministries for military members and their families, including worship, religious education, confidential counseling, unit engagement, and many other programs.
“Our goal is to develop spiritually fit Airmen to fly, fight, and win,” said Capt. Tamara Rowe, 647th ABG chaplain. “We ensure that our Airmen and their families champion their First Amendment right to practice their religion. We also provide religious accommodation, which entails networking with joint and off-base resources.”
While chaplains’ primary goal is developing spiritually fit Airmen, they also advise leadership on moral, ethical and quality-of-life issues.
“Airmen have a mission to complete, but they cannot fully complete if unit morale is low,” said Rowe. “To help address unit concerns for Airmen, our Religious Support Teams do routine unit visitations. After gaining a unit morale pulse check, we raise the commanders’ awareness of the climate affecting their Airmen.”
Spirituality is essential to an individual’s resiliency as esprit de corps is vital to a unit's mission accomplishment, as it brings Airmen together.
“In a deployed setting you need to be able to fight as one solid unit,” said Rowe. “If Airmen are emotionally fighting on multiple levels, they cannot concentrate on their unit’s goals, and the mission will be impacted. A spiritually resilient team knows their value and the value of everyone contributing to the fight.”
Although Airmen face challenges associated with their military service, their families can also struggle with maintaining spiritual resiliency. The chaplain corps ensures spiritual fitness for them as well.
“I love to encourage Airmen and their families who are struggling with life’s challenges,” said Rowe. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel, just keep pressing forward. Challenges are not easy but you will get through them. We will get through them together.”
For more information about the 647th ABG Chaplain Corps visit https://www.15wing.af.mil/UNITS/Chapel/.