Keeping the Faith: Base Chapel helps airmen meet spiritual needs, ensures mission readiness

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs
Spiritual health is just as important as physical fitness when it comes to an airman's mission readiness.

And the Robins Air Force Base Chapel's staff and programs aim to ensure the spiritual aspect of the Comprehensive Airman Fitness model is met for each airman.

Chaplain (Maj.) Gabriel Rios, deputy wing chaplain, said CAF's targeted programs and activities help enable airmen to make sound choices.

"The program's goal is to build and sustain a thriving and resilient Air Force community that fosters mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness," he said. "The chapel staff are the subject matter experts for spiritual fitness.

"An airman with a healthy spiritual life is a warrior focused on the mission, and certainly more ready to handle the rigors of military service," he added.

Rios said the chapel offers a unique perspective on the common stressors airmen and their families face in times of both peace and war.

"The majority of parishioners are either active duty or retired military members, so we understand the rigors of military life," he said. "We offer many opportunities for worship, religious education, fellowship and other means of spiritual growth. Our programs are designed to meet the religious and spiritual needs of all ages."

Chaplains provide commanders and leaders at all levels with advice on religion, morale, morals and ethics.

Rios said the chaplain team also provides personal and spiritual support to keep military members and their families spiritually fit.

Unit-based spiritual resiliency events and retreats for airmen, confidential counseling, and other chapel programs and events keep airmen spiritually strong.

"Each of our chaplains is assigned to serve as a specific unit chaplain, supporting their spiritual care and fitness with particular regard to their personal, spiritual convictions," Rios said. "We like to say we're chaplains to all in support of each member's religious freedom, and we're ministers to some who are of like faith and order."

When a chaplain can't meet a need, he will refer the person to the right resource.
Each chaplain is partnered with a chaplain assistant in what is known as a Religious Support Team.

"Chaplain assistants are vital to the mission of the chapel," Rios said. "They're the supporting arm of the RST, and assist with management and execution of resources to support the RST's mission to provide spiritual care and fitness to the units and their members."

The chapel now has three active-duty Protestant chaplains of various denominations, and a civilian Catholic priest, in addition to three Protestant individual mobilization augmentee chaplains.

Rios said chaplains maintain a robust relationship with other faith group leaders and points of contact to ensure airmen receive the support they need or desire for their particular faith to include lay leaders or points of contact for members of the Jewish faith, Earth-Centered faith (Wicca), and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The chapel offers limited services for civilian airmen.

Chaplain-led worship services are open to valid base ID cardholders and their authorized dependents.

However, chaplain services, like counseling, are very limited for Defense Department civilians, usually involving a one-time crisis intervention session, followed by a referral to the Employee Assistance Program.

Editor's note: Civilian employees can visit for info on local services.