CHAPLAINS HELPING IN JAPAN
By Master Sgt. Ken Stephens, 126 Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 03, 2014
NAVAL AIR FACILITY, ATSUGI, Japan -- Members of the 126th Chaplains Office assisted the U.S. Navy clergy at Naval Air Field Atsugi, Japan, for two weeks.
An Illinois Air National Guard chaplain and a chaplain assistant performed their annual training during the month of June with the sister service while filling in for chapel staff members who were on leave or at training seminars.
Capt. Carlos Bohorquez, a chaplain with the 126th Air Refueling Wing located at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, provided counseling for the base population and performed Catholic Mass services at The Chapel of the Good Shepherd. Master Sgt. Melissa Macke, a chaplains assistant, also with the 126th, provided administrative and chapel service support.
The opportunity to attend Catholic Mass was especially important to the base, according to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Dale Wellman, a religious program specialist with the chaplain's office.
"We haven't had a Catholic priest here for two years, so Father Carlos is filling a vital spiritual role for our community. Many people were excited to hear he was coming," said Wellman.
U.S. Navy Lt. Wilking Jean, a staff chaplain assigned to Atsugi, said he sees a positive impact to having Borhorquez assist with counseling and workplace morale visits known in the Navy as "deckplate visits".
"Sometimes, we see problems developing, so we try to pay more attention to those shops. Regular visits improve the situation," said Jean.
The two National Guardsmen are also getting involved with the local community. According to Macke, they've been invited to help with a weekly effort to feed the homeless in neighborhoods near the base.