Chaplains minister to troops

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Ed Bard & Tech. Sgt. David Speicher
  • 175th Wing Public Affairs
The 175th Wing Chaplain Corps is filling a critical role in the spiritual care of Maryland National Guard members during Operation Baltimore Rally, the National Guard's response to the state of emergency in Baltimore.

Amid protests and long shifts away from home, the religious support team - chaplains and chaplain assistants - provide a calming voice and spiritual guidance to the troops gathered at a staging area for the operation beside M&T Bank Stadium.

"(We are here) to support our Airmen, to be in the trenches and make sure their morale, if not high, is steady," said Lt. Col. Ivan Williams, 175th Wing chaplain. "(We are here) to encourage them."

"In the old days, chaplains would stay in the office," he said. "Today they go out into the work areas."

The chaplains are responsible to be where their Airmen and Soldiers are and report to the commander the level of morale, said Williams.

"We sense that the overall morale is high," said Williams, a traditional guardsman who works full-time as the director for the North American Division Ministerial Department of the Seventh-day Adventists.

As the group marched from the staging area toward their assignment in downtown Baltimore, Master Sgt. David Yarborough, superintendent of chapel operations, touched every Airman who went by.

"You have to make yourself known," Yarborough said. "We let them know, we are there for you."

"Being present is half the job," said Williams. "If you are not there, how can you know their needs?"