Bringing peace to Airmen in battlefield

  • Published
  • By Norah Sweeney
  • Assistant staff writer
"My job is to bring peace to the lives of the Airmen on the battlefield," said Senior Protestant Chaplain John Sackett when asked what he feels is the best part of being a chaplain.

Chaplains are the men and women that lend a helping hand to service members in need. But the question remains: what do chaplains do to prepare themselves for deployment? I was taken through a day in the life of a deployed chaplain and learned how those who have found their calling in helping others, help themselves.

During deployment, the duties of a chaplain are similar to that of a chaplain stationed stateside or in a non-combative area. The chaplain is there as a morale booster and a pastor.

The troops expect a great deal of the deployed chaplain; he or she takes on numerous job titles: friend, spiritual advisor and counselor in an effort to keep the troops mentally balanced and in a positive state of mind. Lately, chaplains have been deployed to locations like Iraq, Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates; they go where their skills are most needed.

There are differences in counseling home-stationed troops versus deployed troops. Deployed troops discuss things with chaplains like overwhelming separation anxiety and missing their loved ones, while home-stationed soldiers' minds seem to be more occupied with work-related issues and the health of their relationships.

In training to become a chaplain, Chaplain Sackett learned that deployed troops require special attention because of the issues and worries they face.

The question may raise the eyebrows of many is how do those who live to promote the mental wellness of others, prepare themselves for the stress of deployment?
Chaplain Sackett found a family-oriented way to keep his spirits high. He shows his wife and children his plan for keeping in touch and spends a lot of time with them to prepare the whole family for his deployment.

Chaplains go through the same emotions as any other service member about to be deployed: nervousness, anxiety about what the deployment will be like and worry about their families.

Chaplains have a mission to be spiritual and moral guides for others. The dedication they bring to this mission helps to bring peace to themselves and to all those who serve.