DUKE FIELD, Fla. --
The 919th Special Operations Wing chaplain’s office recently welcomed a new member to lead it’s spiritual resiliency efforts for the 1,700 Citizen Air Commandos stationed here and at Hurlburt Field.
Chap. (Lt. Col.) David Daus, a native from Indianapolis, Indiana, joined the Wing this summer and has hit the ground running providing counseling and chapel service for members of the Wing.
“I requested to come here,” said Daus. “I have always had an interest in being a chaplain and Traditional Reservist for an Air Force Reserve Wing.”
Daus’ previous experience was with active duty and as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee with the United States Air Forces in Europe—Air Forces Africa at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
“As an IMA, it was always difficult to establish long-term relationships with Airmen, because I was only there a few times a year,” said Daus. “The pull for me—wanting to be a part of the Wing [here]—is to have that continuity and build those relationships.”
Daus expressed his most important relationships are with his faith and family. He and his wife have four boys together. He said being a husband, father, pastoring a church, and being a Reservist keeps him busy, but he still has time for a few hobbies.
“I enjoy fishing and golf, but most of my time is centered-around coaching my boys’ tennis teams, watching movies, traveling with them, and dining out with my wife,” said Daus.
It was his older brother of 13 years who was a pilot in the Navy that influenced him to pursue a career in the military.
“I love serving," said Daus. "I am in a place where I could retire now, but I do not have any desire to get out anytime soon. I still enjoy the work and get a great sense of purpose from wearing the uniform.”
He said it is his goal to help Airman find their sense of meaning, and prepare them with a ‘resiliency tool kit’—a system to reduce stress and grow resilience in individuals.
“I want to get a sense of what the folks here need and give them everything I can to help them do their job,” said Daus.
Daus hosted his first chapel service at the Duke Field chapel during the September Unit Training Assembly. One of the Airmen who attended the service shared what resonated with her.
“Today’s service was one of hope and inspiration to keep doing your best no matter how difficult or challenging your circumstances are in life,” said Senior Airman Daniella Peña-Pavao, Public Affairs specialist. “It’s messages like this that motivate me to do my very best at work.”
In addition to chapel services, Daus shared sometimes the most valuable times chaplains have with Airmen are what he described as the ‘unofficial, unscripted moments’ when an Airman stops by and says, “Hey, chaplain, do you have a moment?” .
A benefit of talking with the chaplain’s services is an Airman does not have to be religious or be of the same faith to receive help or just to talk.
“Sometimes people just need to get stuff off their chest,” said Daus. “That’s okay, I am a good listener.”
Daus said while he is still learning the rhythm of the UTA world he added,
“I want Airmen to know, whether it is myself or Chaplain (Capt.) Eric Randall, when they come to us, it is really, no kidding, a safe haven because of privileged communication,” said Daus.
The 919th SOW chaplains visit all of the wing’s units on a regular basis to meet and talk with Airmen to let them know their spiritual and counseling services are available should the need arise.
Daus said multiple times in his life when he wasn’t sure how he was going to get through something or do something, he leaned on his faith.
“It is in those moments I find strength,” said Daus. He shared the following quote from a scripture that empowers him, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Although the Wing does not direct Airmen to support a specific spiritual faith or to follow one at all, the 919th SOW chaplain’s office provides experts in the field of spirituality.
“I think when we are able to help people tie into that spiritual pillar [core values, perseverance, perspective, purpose] if they have a sense of why they are here that makes them a lot more resilient,” said Daus.
“I think Chaplain Daus is going to be a great asset to the mission here,” said Peña-Pavao. “He is very knowledgeable and passionate about helping others and preaching truth. “I believe that is going to be super helpful for the people here.”
For more information about the chaplain services and how to reach them, please consult the 919th SOW mobile app under the ‘IRON’ icon, then click on ‘Chaplain’ or contact the chaplain’s office directly at 850-883-6984. Walk-ins are also welcome.