MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho — Chaplains play an integral role in military operations as they provide military personnel with someone they can talk to about their problems.
In 2019 the Air Force lost more airmen to suicide than they've lost during the nearly 20-year long engagement in Afghanistan.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, chaplains are finding new ways to help people with their mental health.
"What I'm finding around the base and our country are people looking for those spiritual resources," said LT. Col Joshua Payne the head chaplain at Mountain Home Air Force Base. "That spiritual support fortifies and strengthens them at this time."
Governor Brad Little allowed churches to re-open in phase one to of his plan for Idaho to rebound, but while services were closed to the public, the chaplains at Mountain Home took that as an opportunity to expand their reach.
They did so through online services, but they also reached out to the National Guard at Gowen Field as they work to provide an avenue for military personnel both on and off the base.
"It's an honor to be one of those resources that can encourage people to continue in their faith," said Payne.
The Air Force also provides family advocacy programs, substance abuse programs and they have a mental health facility to help airmen and their families cope with the pressures of military life.