JBER religious affairs team supports Agile Reaper 23-1

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Julia Lebens
  • 3rd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam – In a first for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, a religious support team forward-deployed from Alaska recently to provide spiritual support during Exercise Agile Reaper 23-1.

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Brandon White, the 3rd Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain, and Tech Sgt. David Haywood, the 3rd AEW religious affairs Airman, made up the religious support team supporting Airmen participating in AR 23-1. The 3rd AEW designed this exercise to test agile combat employment skills and readiness, and rehearse capabilities in an operationally relevant environment. The exercise took place at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands, March 2023.

To prepare for the exercise, this religious support team studied the local culture and religious institutions, found out the religious preferences of the supporting personnel in order to accommodate, and prepared for religious holidays occurring during the exercise.

“We had Lent which was occurring, as well as Purim.…in the end we did accommodate for each Airman based on their needs that they had,” said White. “We also had accommodations for our pagans, as well as atheists and agnostics.”

Additionally, religious affairs Airman tested their ability as a multi-capable Airman. Haywood helped load a C-17 Globemaster III and supplemented finance management by purchasing medical supplies.

White and Haywood said their goal is to effect positive change and to make sure that, regardless of spiritual or religious preferences, Airmen know chaplains are a trusted source available to provide spiritual care, counseling, and support.

“The mission of the Chaplain Corps as a whole is to care for Airmen, Guardians, and families more than anyone thinks possible,” said Haywood. “I think we were able to execute that by being here for Agile Reaper.”