News>Chaplains MOPP up during Exercise Beverly Bearcat
U.S. Air Force Capt. Kevin Humphrey, a Kadena Protestant chaplain, talks with Airman 1st Class Tim Vanhulst, 18th Security Forces Squadron response force member, during Exercise Beverly Bearcat 12-1 on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 25, 2012. Chaplains visit members across the base to help boost morale, spiritual guidance and to give the Airmen support. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins)
A Kadena's chapel team talks with Airman 1st Class Darius Preston, 18th Security Forces Squadron response force member, during Exercise Beverly Bearcat 12-1 on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 25, 2012. Chaplains play a critical role in ensuring the spiritual well-being of Kadena's Airmen and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them every day, providing spiritual direction and guidance even as Airmen deploy into contingency environments. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins)
U.S. Staff Sgt. Christina Haga, 18th Wing chaplain assistant, hands out snacks to Airmen with the 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during Exercise Beverly Bearcat 12-1, an operational readiness inspection on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 24, 2012. Haga assisted Chaplain (Capt.) Kennie Neal with a morale-boosting visitation to the 18th AMXS and 18th Munitions Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis)
U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Kennie Neal, an 18th Wing chaplain, speaks with Airmen of the 44th and 67th Aircraft Maintenance Units for a morale-boosting visitation during Exercise Beverly Bearcat 12-1, an operational readiness inspection on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 24, 2012. Neal makes daily visits to units like the 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 18th Munitions Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis)
by Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins
18th Wing Public Affairs
10/31/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 18th Wing chaplains participate in a Pacific Air Forces Operational Readiness Inspection, called Exercise Beverly Bearcat 12-1 on Kadena.
While the wing is being evaluated on its mobilization procedures, aircraft generation and employment procedures, and the ability of their Airmen to operate in crisis conditions, Kadena's chaplains visit various squadrons across the base lifting spirits and boosting morale.
"People are serious because (this is) a very serious inspection. One thing (the chaplains are) here to do is let the (Airmen) know, yes we want them to do well and excel, but we are here to encourage them and lift them up," said Chaplain (Capt.) Kevin Humphrey, a Kadena's Protestant chaplain. "As we encourage them and lift their spirits, it helps them to perform their mission and continue (doing well)."
The chaplains had to prepare for this inspection as well. They are being inspected on their ability to provide emotional and spiritual resources to the Airmen to make sure they are ready to help them complete the mission.
With making sure they are ready to give spiritual and emotional guidance, the chapel team also received a self-aid buddy care scenario where they had to show their knowledge of how to treat a leg and head injury.
Humphrey said while they are here to listen to the Airmen and boost them up during the exercise, they also are there to help with real-world problems that may arise.
"Sometimes, just because there's an exercise going on doesn't mean problems at home go away," Humphrey explained. "We, as chaplains, try to help them cope with those things while they're trying to do their best for the readiness inspection."
While giving spiritual guidance, the chaplains are in the trenches with the Airmen in Mission-Oriented Protective Posture gear when required.
Staff Sgt. Charles White, 18th Wing NCO in-charge of chapel resources, said he knows it is hot being in MOPP gear so they go out to provide Airmen across the base with Gatorade and water.
"When we go out to visit (the Airmen), we're not just visiting for exercise purposes," Humphrey said. "We're going out there to say 'hey, how are you doing?' or 'Do you need me to make you laugh?' (Things) to show them we care."