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YARS chapel staff available full-time to help Airmen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Juliet Louden
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

At Youngstown Air Reserve Station, there is a group of Airmen who greet anyone who comes to their office with a smile, a confidential ear and a heart of understanding. This group of Airmen is the 910th Airlift Wing chapel staff.

Leading this team is the new wing chaplain, Lt. Col. Randolph McCafferty. McCafferty joins the 910th family from his last assignment at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

“We are a team of dedicated professionals who will warm your heart, put a smile on your face and elevate your mood,” said McCafferty, smiling. “You can walk in anytime.”

The mission of the 910th chapel staff is to inspire the readiness of Airmen and their families through unparalleled soul care, leader advisement and religious freedom. The vision is to care for Airmen more than anyone thinks possible. This is reflected in the sincere thoughts and actions of the chaplain staff here.

Part of fulfilling their mission and vision is providing 100% confidential counseling to Airmen. The confidentiality agreement is an important factor in an Airman’s willingness to get help from within the military.

“No matter what an Airman may say, they are safe in what they say to a chaplain,” said McCafferty. “No other Air Force specialty code has that privilege, which is protected by the law.”

Another service offered by the chapel staff is mobile church, a voluntary open service in multiple locations each Unit Training Assembly.

“Mobile church takes church to the Airmen within the unit,” said Chaplain (1st Lt.) Douglas Craver, new chaplain assigned to the 910th. “It is a spiritually fulfilling 30-minute service that includes an inspirational message and a word of prayer.”    

The chapel staff emphasizes the services they provide are for all Airmen, not just those who are religious.

“There is a misconception that if you are not religious, why talk to a chaplain,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Jeffery Lichlyter, the new 910th deputy wing chaplain. “We will talk to anybody. People just want someone to talk to and we are here to listen.”

Another new addition to the 910th, Chaplain (1st Lt.) William Lillie expresses his agreement with Lichlyter that the services provided by the chapel staff are available to all Airmen, religious or not.

“When you come to the chaplain, we are not going to throw the Bible at you,” said Lillie, with a chuckle. “It is not our job to convert you; we are here to support you. We help you resolve life issues and our help comes from the heart.”

Reaching out to a chaplain is not restricted to UTA weekends. Recently, YARS added Lichlyter full-time to help Airmen at any time.

“Having a full-time religious support team allows for continuous engagement with people and the programs we offer,” said McCafferty. “It creates creativity with the chaplain corps and finds new ways to bolster spiritual fitness of the Airmen at YARS. It is a mission that never quits.”

Tech. Sgt. Liz Majors, NCO in charge of religious affairs assigned to the 910th AW, also serves on the 910th chapel staff on a full-time basis.

“Our chapel staff offers full-time spiritual care, which allows for a more in-unit presence and to establish more relationships with Airmen,” said Majors. “We want to further our connection with Airmen. Airmen can walk in, go through their first sergeant or call anytime.”

YARS chapel staff offers a variety of services on UTA weekends that Airmen can take part in. Protestant church service is held on Saturdays in building 128 at 9:30 a.m. and in hangar 305 at 10:30 a.m.

A Bible study is available after the duty day during UTA weekends at 5 p.m. on Saturday in building 201.

A rosary prayer is available for the Catholic population on Saturday of UTA weekends in building 101’s conference room at 4:30 p.m.

Despite adding two full-time members, the chapel staff is not done growing yet. 

“Our chaplain team is looking for a religious affairs Airman,” said Majors. “Anyone interested in cross-training must be a five-skill level to apply.”

For more information regarding chaplain services including religious support requests, volunteer opportunities and charitable giving please contact the YARS’s chapel staff at (330) 609-1393.

Editor’s note: Lt. Col. Randolph McCafferty was reassigned prior to this piece being published. His replacement has not been announced.