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Chaplains provide integrated support

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Capt. Matthew Knight, 30th Space Wing chaplain, chats with Staff Sgt. Bambi White, 30th Security Forces Squadron unit scheduler here, Feb. 11. The VAFB chapel has recently integrated four of its five chaplains into the wings’ four groups, physically relocating their offices to better assist when needed. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Shane Phipps)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Capt. Matthew Knight, 30th Space Wing chaplain, chats with Staff Sgt. Bambi White, 30th Security Forces Squadron unit scheduler here, Feb. 11. The VAFB chapel has recently integrated four of its five chaplains into the wings’ four groups, physically relocating their offices to better assist when needed. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Senior Airman Shane Phipps)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The VAFB chapel has recently integrated four of its five chaplains into the wings' four groups, physically relocating their offices to better assist Airmen when needed.

Hoping to deliver more intimate spiritual care for all members, there is currently a chaplain appointed to the 30th Medical Group, 30th Operations Group, 30th Mission Support Group and 30th Launch Group respectively.

"We have been challenged to deploy our chaplains and chaplain assistants at home station," said Lt. Col. Glenn Page, wing chaplain, 30th Space Wing. "Here at Vandenberg, not only do we want to fulfill the Chief of Chaplain's mandate to be more engaged in our units, even more so, we want to be recognized as an integral part of their lives. For that reason, we have four Religious Support Teams integrated into units at VAFB. While these teams are spread evenly across the four groups, they also cover partner units on base."

For the chaplains, this provides an opportunity to bolster their relationship and accessibility to Airmen and their families.

"We really consider ourselves part of the units we support," said Maj. Martin Adamson, 30th SW deputy wing chaplain. "Moving our offices into the squadrons and units is a sign of our integration and helps us not only to better identify with the people in our squadrons, but it helps them better identify with us."

So far this implementation has proved effective, with a chaplain presence becoming a thing of normality throughout various squadrons.

"We have just begun moving into the units here at Vandenberg, and already I have noticed more requests for my time," said Capt. Kyle Roehrig, 30th SW protestant chaplain. "I have noticed more individuals pulling me aside for conversations and advice, as well as an attitude of acceptance as I visit their worksites."

In the end, chapel personnel hope this integration will help accomplish their primary objective of helping those in need - regardless of religious-affiliation.

"Don't hesitate to talk to a chaplain, religious or not," said Adamson. "If you're not religious, you can still say hello. I went on a temporary duty assignment to Poland and was introduced to an atheist military member who said I wouldn't need to see him because he's an atheist. I said, 'Well, we can still be friends can't we?' He paused and said 'Yes.' We became friends and he gave me the patch from his unit at the end of the deployment. He was still an atheist and I was still a Christian - but we were both military members."

The chaplains and chaplain assistants assigned are as follows,

Senior Religious Support Team: Lt. Col. Glenn Page and Tech. Sgt. Sonia Balatgek.

Medical Group: Capt. Aleck Brown.

Operations Group: Maj. Martin Adamson and Staff Sgt. Elisa Panek.

Launch Group: Capt. Kyle Roehrig.

Mission Support Group: Capt. Matthew Knight, Tech. Sgt. Jeff Bell and Capt. Aleck Brown.

For more information, contact the chapel at 805-606-5773.