TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 325th Fighter Wing Chapel hosted members of the Air National Guard Chaplain Corps for training here April 5-8.
The training was part of the Strong Bonds program, a unit-based, chaplain-led program that assists commanders in building individual resilience by strengthening the military family.
As stated on their website, the core mission of the Strong Bonds program is to increase individual service member and family member readiness through relationship education and skills training. Strong Bonds is conducted in an offsite retreat format in order to maximize the training effect. The retreat provides a fun, safe and secure environment to address the impact of relocations, deployments, and military lifestyle stressors.
“The Air National Guard Chaplain Corps puts on retreats for singles, couples and families,” said Maj. Rudy Olivo, 325th Fighter Wing chaplain. “When we bring them in, we help them build strong bonds. For the singles, they work on skills for relationships, romantic relationships and friendships to give them tools for wherever they may be in life. For couples and families, there is a lot of focus on communication.”
The event started with an orientation and welcome at the Horizon Club, serving as a meet and greet.
“During the event, approximately 100 people were in attendance, to include students, instructors and senior leaders of the Air National Guard Chaplain Corps,” Olivo said. “Leadership met and interacted with the personnel going through training. Additionally, the senior leaders gathered for a summit to discuss strategic matters for Air National Guard Chaplain Corps. The rest of the week is training, the group is split into three subgroups for families, couples and singles counseling.”
Col. William Yates, director of the Air National Guard Chaplain Corps, and Senior Master Sgt. John Recore, Air National Guard Chaplain Corps chaplain assistance career field functional area manager, spoke about the current state the chaplain corps.
Lt. Gen. William H. Etter, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region – 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) commander, also spoke to those in attendance.
“I have been a very big fan of chaplains my entire career,” Etter said. “I value what you all do as it is a very important part of the military machine. You may consider yourself chaplains and chaplains’ assistants, but I consider you all as crew chiefs – because our most important weapon system we have is our people.”
Olivo concluded with his thoughts of the importance of the event.
“This is a win for Tyndall because it means that we are empowering the chaplain corps to take care of thousands of airman and families around the world. It’s an honor to serve these folks who do such a good job at serving others,” Olivo said.