Developing Spiritually Fit Airmen

  • Published
  • By Chaplain, Lt. Col. John W. Shipman
  • 509th Bomb Wing Chapel
“Unless the soldier’s soul sustains him he cannot be relied on and will fail himself and his commander and his country in the end,” stated U.S. Army Gen. George C. Marshall.

Marshall understood, as does the Air Force, the value of maintaining your beliefs, principles and values in order to meet the challenges demanded of those serving in our nation’s defense.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV, the 509th Bomb Wing commander, has designated April as “Spiritual Fitness Month,” in an effort to make everyone at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, more aware of this domain of the Comprehensive Airman Fitness (CAF) construct. Almost every Airman can define the social, physical and mental domain of the CAF construct, but some struggle with defining the spiritual domain.

First, the definition of the physical domain is the ability to adopt and sustain healthy behaviors needed to enhance health and well-being.

Second, the social domain is defined as the ability to engage in healthy social networks that promote overall well-being and optimal performance.

Third, the definition of the mental domain is the ability to effectively cope with unique mental stressors and challenges.

Fourth, the spiritual domain of the CAF is defined as the ability to maintain beliefs, principles and values which come from religious, philosophical or human values needed to preserve and prevail in accomplishing the mission.

As a chaplain, I believe that spiritual fitness produces a level of resilience that fuels military readiness and helps families thrive in all areas of life, including the physical, mental and social domains. The Pew Research Center stated, “An overwhelming majority of Americans adhere to some religious system that can strengthen their spiritual fitness.”

Even those who do not identify as religious may benefit by considering how spiritual fitness can improve their comprehensive fitness profile.

The Whiteman Chaplain Corps is committed to helping every Airman and their families become more fit for service. With this in mind, we have put together various educational, service and religious events in April to help active duty, dependents and retirees of all faith backgrounds strengthen their spiritual fitness. Classes focusing on world religions and meditation will be available, as well as worship services and daily prayer for specific needs and peer groups.

If you are interested in being part of this experience/expression, please visit our Facebook page, Whiteman AFB Chapel, for the full listing of events, or contact Tech. Sgt. James McConnell or Staff Sgt. Ronald Murray III at the Chapel Annex at 660-687-3652.