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Air Force Chaplain offers spiritual wisdom

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  • By Tech. Sgt. Brian Bahret
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Thirty-five years after flying helicopter rescue missions to retrieve downed Andersen B-52 aircrews from the jungles of North Vietnam during Operation Linebacker II, Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Charles Baldwin again is assisting the men and women stationed here. 

Instead of flying fast-paced recovery operations, Chaplain Baldwin visited Andersen March 23 in his capacity as the Air Force Chief of Chaplains as the guest speaker for the National Prayer Luncheon held at the Oceanview Conference Center. 

At the luncheon, General Baldwin thanked the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and civilians present for their service. 

"Not only are you fighting the Global War on Terrorism by deploying, you're focused on Southwest Asia and are looking to the West and North to keep the world safe and secure. 

"We know about trouble because we're fighting the GWOT," he said. "Every day we accept not only the personal troubles of life but also the responsibility of the national and international troubles that each day holds. We know about trouble and deal with it every day." 

Like physical fitness, spiritual fitness is equally important when it comes to coping with the trouble, the Chaplain Baldwin said. 

"We're dealing with matters of life; we're confronting the evil in the world," said the chaplain. "That is a very dangerous thing. Unless you speak to the spiritual part of a person, you're not preparing them to go into battle." 

He acknowledged that no two people have the same spiritual convictions.
"They may not be religious, but there is something spiritual in their heart," said Chaplain Baldwin. "There's something of the mystery of faith that people may not define by a religious commitment. When you are afraid and know that you may die today then there's something that you need to confront in your own being." 

He said chaplains are available to help Airmen with their needs both at home and in the field. 

"That is one of the things that I find extremely important in our own military system," he said. "It starts with Lackland and reaches to Guam and reaches to Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever they go. It's part of a military legacy and heritage. Pick a war and there are chaplains present for duty. We will take care of the spiritual needs." 

During the luncheon, General Baldwin also addressed the challenges people face each day. He made many parallels between the hit television show "24" and the concerns the military members face. But, he said, unlike Jack Bauer, the lead character, the men and women serving the armed forces can't simply step aside. 

"I think most people would like to pretend that there is no trouble or that the trouble is just a reality TV show," he said. "But, the 'Survivors' are only playing a game and the 'Amazing Race' is not an athletic contest at all and the contestants on 'American Idol' do not come close to the American heroes who step forward in military uniform to defend the freedoms we hold dear." 

"It's the Airmen Solders, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians who serve with the Department of Defense who are the brave ones who know about trials every day," said Chaplain Baldwin. "They stand on a wall, disarm an IED, take down a terrorist, fly into the middle of a storm. They know that every day has its trial and they report for duty anyway." 

It's when the servicemembers are facing the challenges that they need someone to turn to, he added. 

"The truth is we need help," he said. "That's why this national prayer luncheon is so important. The trouble, trials and truth that affect our lives require much stronger help than Special Agent Jack Bauer. We need, like every generation before us, the help of almighty God." 

He said the chaplains are available to help people understand their feelings regardless of the faith they follow. 

"Chaplains are here to do that without judging," he said. "We respect everyone. We come with our own faith backgrounds and we also respect people of other faiths."

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