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A closer look at the 419th chaplain corps

Lt. Col. Rodney Campbell, chaplain in the 419th Fighter Wing, speaks to a group of Airmen that are new to the wing earlier this year at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Lt. Col. Rodney Campbell, chaplain in the 419th Fighter Wing, speaks to a group of Airmen that are new to the wing earlier this year at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The chaplain corps visits newcomers frequently to make sure new Airmen get acquainted to Hill AFB and that they know where to go for guidance and help. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anthony T. Pham)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – For reservists within the 419th Fighter Wing, life can be hard to manage at times as they juggle a military career, family life, and civilian job. The wing’s chaplain corps say they’re here to help.

The chaplain corps is the foundation for the wing’s spiritual health, and the help they offer Airmen and families is crucial to the Air Force mission.

“We will meet Airmen wherever they are on their life journey,” said Master Sgt. John Franco, superintendent with the chaplain corps. “Whether it’s spiritual, mental, medical, or developmental, our team will help them in every way we can.”

With a team of only six, which includes two chaplains and supporting Religious Affairs Airmen, being available to the roughly 1,300 Airmen across the 419th is a feat itself. The team is trained to support every Airman across the chain of command and across a spectrum of beliefs.

“Spirituality is not just religion and faith, spirituality is one’s meaning of life,” Franco said.

During drill weekends, the chaplain corps meet with units and advising commanders about fulfilling spiritual accommodation.

“We are tasked to build and strengthen the spiritual and emotional resilience of our members through personal confidential counseling, regular workplace interactions, and religious services,” said Lt. Col. Rodney Campbell, the deputy wing chaplain.

The chaplain corps doesn’t just accommodate Airmen; they are also willing to counsel their families during deployment. Chaplains may also officiate weddings, funerals, and baptisms. If a member requires a clergyman of a specific faith, the chaplains will coordinate with local faith groups to help meet the member’s needs.

“Our job is to meet the families where they are, in good or bad times.” Franco said. “Caring and supporting for the families of our Airmen bolsters their relationships, which in turn reduces their stressors.”

The chaplain corps are focused on Airmen and will support their constitutional right to exercise their freedom of religion.

“We truly believe that our Airmen are our greatest asset in the U.S. Air Force,” Campbell said. “Know that we are there for all of our members 24/7.”

Reservists are also welcome to join the chaplains in Latter-day Saints, Catholic, Protestant, and general Christian services on Sundays during drill weekends.

For more information, reservists can reach the chaplains at (801) 775-2646 or (801) 775-2647.