Spiritual maintenance supports Airmen

by Chaplain (Maj.) Mark B. McKellen
86th Airlift Wing chaplain
Photo by Senior Airman Damon KasbergChaplain (Col.) Dwayne R. Peoples, U.S. Air Forces in Europe command chaplain, speaks during the National Prayer Service March 18 at Ramstein. Peoples focused his message on the importance of spiritual maintenance and how it impacts Airmen.
Photo by Senior Airman Damon Kasberg
Chaplain (Col.) Dwayne R. Peoples, U.S. Air Forces in Europe command chaplain, speaks during the National Prayer Service March 18 at Ramstein. Peoples focused his message on the importance of spiritual maintenance and how it impacts Airmen.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Senior Airman Bryan Jordan from the 86th Maintenance Squadron. Jordan’s job is to inspect airframes for structural integrity. During a random inspection, he found a crack in one of the C-130J Super Hercules’ wings.

The crack was not noticeable, but was found using specialized equipment. This random inspection saved the aircraft and crew from potential disaster. Just as aircraft need maintenance to keep them in the air, Airmen require spiritual maintenance to keep them focused and in the fight.

The chapel has implemented a maintenance concept in an effort to better provide spiritual support to the Airmen stationed at Ramstein.

The scheduled spiritual maintenance provides not only weekly worship services, but it also includes a walk-in service. The walk-in chaplain’s office is located at the Ramstein Northside Chapel and is available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

There is also an on-call duty chaplain available for after-duty hours by contacting the command post.


The on-station spiritual maintenance is led by religious support teams, which are assigned an office in designated units. In January, the Ramstein Chapel moved six chaplains out of the chapels and into those designated units. The goal of each team is to make time quarterly with every Airman within each unit. However, due to manning limitations, chaplain assistants are not in the units.

The third phase of this concept is mainenance. This includes marriage, family and single retreats, and chaplain-led spiritual resiliency opportunities within the units. This spiritual maintenance concept is all about minding the mission, Airmen and mission partners.

The purpose of the Ramstein Chapel is to target spiritual maintenance for the overall effectiveness of the mission, Airmen and mission partners who are stationed at Ramstein. With the ongoing high operations tempo, airframes have their limitations, just as Jordan found on the C-130. However, with the expertise of the 86th MXG, this aircraft was back in the fight.


In the same way, the high operations tempo impacts Airmen. The effects may not be visible, but they are there.

With the concept of spiritual maintenance, the emphasis is to get Airmen the spiritual help and support they need, repair the unseen cracks and get them back in the fight.