Meet your wing chaplain: Maj Travis Yelton|
by Rebecca Burylo
Air University Public Affairs
9/20/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, AL --
Q: Describe briefly your role and responsibilities as the 42nd Air Base Wing chaplain.
A: "First and foremost, we as chaplains and chaplain assistants are the champions of the free exercise of religion. We promote the development of the spiritual pillar of comprehensive Airmen fitness. We also engage in unit ministry to include visitations, counseling, programs, and we support and accommodate requests."
Q: What other services or programs do you provide those at Maxwell?
A: "We have two chapels, Chapel 1 and Chapel 2, where we have Catholic and protestant worship services on the weekend. Then we have points of contacts for Jewish, Muslim, Mormons and other faith groups.
However, we are chaplains to all. We might be a pastor, a priest or an imam to those who might identify with those faith groups. If my faith group is different from somebody else's, that's where we provide for free exercise of religion and that's how we become champions of their free exercise of religion by helping them have access to other faith groups in the surrounding areas.
We also offer programs and special events throughout the year like our recent retreats, small group book studies with children and couples classes."
Q: What are some common concerns you have helped military family members, spouses or loved ones with?
A: "We see people for everything, but probably our top three issues would be workplace issues, marriage and family counseling and relationships in general. People often need to talk to us as a third party to listen objectively because as chaplains we have confidentiality. Sometimes they just need to come in and get something off their mind or think something through out loud. We see people with whatever they want to talk about."
Q: What do you enjoy most about your work?
A: "It's the people; it's the mission. From my earliest recollection, I always wanted to be in the military."
Q: How did you become a chaplain?
A: "During my teen years, I felt what I would describe as a 'call to ministry,' and when I discovered there was such a thing as a military chaplain, I thought that was a perfect fit."
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of your job?
A: "I enjoy helping people journey through life and providing them with spiritual guidance. I also enjoy the military itself and what we do for national defense. The military to me is the part of our nation that is present around the world, and I want to be a part of a group like that, which is doing important things."
To contact Yelton, a chapel assistant or to schedule an appointment for counseling, call 953- 2109. Call 953-7333 to speak with an on-call chaplain for emergencies after normal duty hours and on weekends. Walk-ins to either chapel are also welcome.