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Chief Chaplain pays a visit to Peterson

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Dondi Costin, Headquarters U.S. Air Force chief chaplain, visited chaplains and chapel staff from Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases, Nov. 3, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. Costin was in town for the Corona conference meetings at the U.S. Air Force Academy and visited local facilities to share his perspective with chapel staff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Dondi Costin, Headquarters U.S. Air Force chief chaplain, visited chaplains and chapel staff from Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases, Nov. 3, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. Costin was in town for the Corona conference meetings at the U.S. Air Force Academy and visited local facilities to share his perspective with chapel staff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Dondi Costin, center, Headquarters U.S. Air Force chief chaplain, visited chaplains and chapel staff from Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases, Nov. 3, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. Costin shared his perspective on issues from an Air Force-wide view while he was in town attending Corona conference meetings at the U.S. Air Force Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Dondi Costin, center, Headquarters U.S. Air Force chief chaplain, visited chaplains and chapel staff from Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases, Nov. 3, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. Costin shared his perspective on issues from an Air Force-wide view while he was in town attending Corona conference meetings at the U.S. Air Force Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Smith)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness: physical, mental, social, and spiritual. Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Dondi Costin, Headquarters U.S. Air Force chief of chaplains, said the least understood of them is probably the spiritual.

“There is a lot of talk about the physical, social and mental pillars,” Costin said. “It is our job to make sure the spiritual is understood as well as the others and as robust.”

Costin visited chaplains from Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases Nov. 2, 2017 in the Eclipse Cafe at Peterson AFB. He spoke to the group about where the chaplaincy fits in today’s Air Force and how to deal with day-to-day challenges of the career field.

He said the chaplain corps is an operation of hope. A benefit of being part of the chaplaincy is getting to be involved in people’s lives at the most critical times.

“We are there for everybody, whether they are religious or not,” said Costin.

Gen. David Goldfein, U.S. Air Force chief of staff’s decision to focus more on squadrons placed chaplains more frequently among the Airmen they serve. Costin said purposeful unit engagement helps chaplains assist commanders in making squadrons better.

“It’s not just hanging out, but finding out what is going on in people’s lives,” he said. “It’s effective because what we find is the more we are in the units, the more they know and the more they trust us when going through a crisis.”

Working closely within units helps chaplains not only work more purposefully, but also more preventatively. Costin said it allows chaplains to figure out how to help Airmen develop resilience skills before they need them.

A challenge members of the chaplain corps face today is doing two jobs – parish ministry and going into the units – well. Costin equated it to being a bi-vocational minister. He said chaplains need to work with commanders to prioritize their work.

“In my sense, I think about it like being deployed,” said Costin. “When you are deployed the work is unit-based and church-based. It seems more involved and engaging. Think of it like being deployed stateside.”

Costin addressed the Faith Works platform, an Air Force Chaplains Corps platform based on a body of research demonstrating positive effects religion and spirituality can have on improving an individual’s overall health.

“We don’t need to be afraid of religion, it’s part of who we are,” said Costin. “Part of what the chaplaincy does is help (with) freedom of religion. It’s an opportunity to show how spiritual fitness plays a central role in Comprehensive Airman Fitness.”

Costin said chaplains do things no other group can.

“It is demonstrated by metrics that we are indispensable,” he said.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui