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From D-Day to today: Spiritual health remains key

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Lance Hoggatt speaks with Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training students April 8 in the 8th and 3rd Flying Training Squadron’s Heritage Room at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. (U.S. Air Force photo / Staff Sgt. Nancy Falcon)

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Lance Hoggatt speaks with Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training students April 8 in the 8th and 3rd Flying Training Squadron’s Heritage Room at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. (U.S. Air Force photo / Staff Sgt. Nancy Falcon)

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Comprehensive Airmen Fitness is a combination of programs and activities designed to make Airmen resilient so they can make good life choices.

CAF is composed of physical, mental, social and spiritual components or pillars. Numerous agencies on base are available to help you strengthen each of these four pillars.

I believe that each of these four pillars is equally important. However, I'd like to share with you the spiritual component or pillar of CAF and its impact on our resilience.

The spiritual component of CAF concentrates on our core values, perseverance, perspective, and purpose. Resiliency in this area of our life allows us to accomplish the mission of the Air Force due to the strength of our beliefs, values, and principles.

Let me begin with an historical illustration that identifies the need for resilience. June 6, 1944 marks the largest amphibious landing in history and is remembered in history as D-Day.

The amphibious assault began in the early-morning hours when Allied forces landed on beaches of Normandy, France. The operation took months of planning and involved 1,527,000 soldiers in 47 Allied divisions along with 4,400 ships and landing craft, and 11,000 aircraft. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's words to these brave warriors were that "your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened... I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory."

The task before us today is no less difficult. Our challenge is to be ready for our nation's call when our D-Day comes. If we are to "accept nothing less than full victory" then we must be resilient Airmen.

What is resiliency? Resiliency is the intentional strengthening of the physical, mental, social, and spiritual pillars that support our lives. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back and overcome the challenges of life.

Chaplains are a resource for strengthening the spiritual pillar through confidential counseling, educational opportunities, retreats, dorm dinners, SIGMO, and religious rites and services. The spiritual pillar speaks to our values and beliefs that give life meaning and purpose; this includes our world views, distinctive religious faiths, and our values, ethics and morals. Furthermore, our spiritual resiliency gives us a sense of direction and nurtures well-being and inner strength which creates resiliency.

Today, for example, you may be experiencing anxiety because of a deployment, finances, the loss of someone close to you, the loss of a job, relationship issues, or work-related stress. One author puts it this way "Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength."

Maybe you feel that your strength has been depleted and you are not ready to answer your nation's call. How can you restore or strengthen your resiliency?

First, you must be aware of any deficiencies in your normal physical, mental, social, and spiritual pillars. Second, you must intentionally work on improving each of these areas.

I challenge each of us to renew our strength by concentrating on the spiritual pillar of resiliency through our faith in our God and our hope for tomorrow. Your chapel team is here for you as a resource.