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Assistants safeguard chaplains, spiritual needs of Airmen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tom Talbert
  • 442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Talk about dedication. Did you know that in a combat zone, part of a chaplain assistant's job is to provide armed protection for chaplains?

That's because chaplains are considered non-combatants, so they are unarmed in combat.

"The chaplain assistant acts as the eyes and ears for a chaplain," said Staff Sgt. Allen Haas, a 442nd Fighter Wing chaplain assistant. But it's just one aspect to a seldom-discussed job that is probably far more involved than the average observer might suspect.

"Of course we are the administrative portion of the office, but most people aren't aware we try to observe and report the unit's spiritual needs to the chaplain," said Master Sgt. Chiquita Wilson, the other chaplain assistant for the Air Force Reserve Command unit. "We do this through various questionnaires, needs assessments and just being aware."

Probably the most challenging aspect of the job, according to Sergeant Haas, is the level of diversity chaplain assistants must be prepared to handle.

"You are not a Protestant or Catholic chaplain's assistant," he said. "You assist the entire chaplain corps, which could be Muslim, Jewish or any number of religions. I need to be sensitive to the beliefs of all Airmen and informed about those beliefs." (Air Force Reserve Command News Service)