BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Chaplains support one of the core pillars of resiliency by ensuring Airmen are spiritually fit. They can provide an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and guidance to those who need it.
Barksdale’s newest 2nd Mission Support Group chaplain is 1st Lt. John Lee.
Born in South Korea, Lee moved to Los Angeles at the age of 13. He earned his bachelor’s in biblical studies, a master’s in divinity and now serves as a protestant chaplain.
“I love working as a chaplain because I get to meet people and take care of them,” Lee said. “Barksdale has a really important mission, not every base deals with such a powerful aircraft like the B-52. And of course, the mission wouldn’t run smoothly without our Airmen working hard and efficiently.”
One of his most important daily task is engage with these Airmen.
“It is part of our job to make sure Airmen know we are here for them,” Lee said. “At every event you see a chaplain, because we want people to know we are available to talk. We can’t do our job if they forget we are a resource for them.”
The Air Force recognizes more than 100 different religions, however Barksdale has representatives for only two religions. If a chaplain cannot perform a religious sacrament, right or ritual, they can put Airmen in contact with someone off base who can. This system ensures that Airmen are spiritually taken care of.
“Every day Chaplain Lee is out interacting with Airmen,” said Maj. Randy Croft, 2nd Bomb Wing deputy wing chaplain. “This helps to make his presence known. I've talked with many people from the various MSG squadrons and they all seem to know right away who their chaplain is. This is very encouraging to hear because it indicates that Chaplain Lee is leaning forward to learn about the mission.”
Chaplain Lee has been at Barksdale for less than a year, but during his time he has already been able to give base residence access to new programs.
“Chaplain Lee helped us secure a terrific new resource for singles and families,” Croft said. “A new 18,000 digital-video-streaming library.
“Chaplain Lee also helped us kick off our first ever Christmas around the world event that featured crafts, gingerbread house building, gift wrapping, and delicious food samples from 12 countries,” He continued. “Over 100 people came out for this event, and the feedback has been terrific.”
As Lee’s time at Barksdale continues, he hopes Airmen continue to see him as a resource.
“If I would give any advice to Airmen, I would say to find something that you enjoy, and if you need help, I am available,” Lee said.