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New direction for religious affairs Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman Seth Haddix
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Faith is a force in which some hold dearly. Practicing religion is not just a privilege of every Airman, but a right. The Chaplain Corps of every unit ensures this royalty is protected in the name of the Air Force.

The Chaplain Corps does not just contain officers, but enlisted Airmen also play a crucial part where they are known as religious affairs.

Religious affairs, formerly known as chaplain’s assistants, recently relocated and revamped their technical training course to improve the training of their enlisted Airmen. The course was previously located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and moved here. Tech. Sgt. Keesha Green, 335th Training Squadron instructor, explains the changes in the course and the new direction of the training.

“Operating here at Keesler opens up new opportunities for the students,” said Green. “Training at a full-functioning Air Education and Training Command base integrates them with other enlisted technical training students and allows them to interact with the student chapel guide white-rope program.”

Green teaches her students the basics of becoming a proficient religious affairs Airman in the six-week-long course.

“The most important part of our course is teaching how to take care of any Airman no matter their background or faith,” said Green. “We teach our students how to manage a chapel and everything that comes with it.”

Tech. Sgt Kimberly Swanagan, 335th TRS instructor, believes that caring for Airmen can instill resiliency and support in other Airmen.

“The religious affairs training prepares us to ultimately save lives,” said Swanagan. “We are trained to help Airmen prevent suicide and internal crisis. We give them someone to talk to.”

The changes in the course have allowed the students to fully grasp what the job will entail. Swanagan believes relocating to a true training base allows them to grow in an enlisted Airmen environment and follow the direction of AETC.

“These changes in our Air Force Specialty Code are for the best,” said Swanagan. “They will ensure our Airmen are being trained to the level and capability of the Airmen of every other AFSC. We are ensuring our training flows in line with AETC and how they want every airman to be trained.”

Religious affairs is an important part of the Air Force and is a name that Green wants every Airman to know. She believes the changes are working toward her goal as an instructor and a religious affairs Airman.

“These changes have left an impact on our Airmen and on the Air Force,” said Green. “We are starting to change the face of our AFSC and starting to become more recognized.”