The Chaplain's Assistant
By SSgt Curtis White, 138th FW/HC
/ Published October 27, 2011
Oklahoma Air National Guard, Tulsa OK -- The Air National Guard Chaplain's Office is the symbol of hope and encouragement for any Air Force installation, and embodies all aspects of spiritual and religious encouragement for Air Force personnel. What many Airmen don't know is that for every Chaplain counseling session, sermon, or invocation, there is a Chaplain Assistant nearby taking care of the details to allow for that Chaplain to fulfill their duties. Many people are unfamiliar with this small, but in-depth Air Force career field called the Chaplain's Assistant.
A Chaplain Assistant is an Airman that has cross-trained from another AFSC, and must be the rank of at least a Senior Airman. To be enlisted allows the Chaplain Assistant to hold common ground with all enlisted personnel and bridges the gap for any enlisted Airmen who might need guidance but may be intimidated by the Chaplain's rank. Chaplain Assistants can administer counseling; however, it can only be given in a crisis-intervention scenario when a chaplain is not available. Chaplain Assistants do not perform professional counseling sessions. You may find some Chaplain Assistants that may be ecclesiastically endorsed, or even may be ordained members of the clergy, but it is not a requirement. Also, unlike a Chaplain, a Chaplain Assistant is not required to have a certain faith or promote a specific religion. However, it is our goal to accommodate any Guard member who may need to exercise their 1st Amendment right of forming their own faith while in uniform. Another key role Chaplain Assistants provide is administrative support and personal aide to the Chaplains. Chaplain Assistants are responsible for the logistics and operations of a Chaplain Office and in a battle-zone; taking on the duty of armed security for Chaplains, since Chaplains are non-combatants and cannot bear arms. Lastly, Chaplain Assistants are "The eyes and ears of the Chaplain." This role is performed during visitation, and the interaction among Airmen. This duty is unique in its aspect that Chaplain Assistants have the specific job function per AFI 52-102V2 of helping alongside the Chaplain to promote well-being for the Airman and positive morale in the Air Force GUARD work place.
In closing, our vision is "Glorifying God, Serving Airmen, and Pursuing Excellence." As we all will face challenges throughout our lives, it is our prayer that you let us, the 138 FW 'God Squad' team reach out to you to help carry whatever burden you may be facing and present your requests before God who cares for you.