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U.S., South Korean Chaplains Train Together at Beverly Herd Exercise

Sept. 21, 2017 | BY Air Force Senior Airman Franklin R. Ramos, 51st Fighter Wing
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American military chaplains with the Air Force’s 51st Fighter Wing and South Korean air force chaplains conducted joint training at Osan Air Base here during Exercise Beverly Herd 17-3 held Sept. 18-21.

Chaplains meeting
Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Ray, 51st Fighter Wing, right, speaks with Air Force Master Sgt. Jamie Zimmerman, 51st Force Support Squadron manpower and organizations superintendent, during Exercise Beverly Herd 17-3 at Osan Air Base, South Korea, Sept. 20, 2017. During the exercise, U.S. Air Force chaplains from the 51st Fighter Wing and South Korea air force chaplains conducted joint training on various ministry procedures. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Franklin R. Ramos
Chaplains meeting
Chaplains
Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Ray, 51st Fighter Wing, right, speaks with Air Force Master Sgt. Jamie Zimmerman, 51st Force Support Squadron manpower and organizations superintendent, during Exercise Beverly Herd 17-3 at Osan Air Base, South Korea, Sept. 20, 2017. During the exercise, U.S. Air Force chaplains from the 51st Fighter Wing and South Korea air force chaplains conducted joint training on various ministry procedures. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Franklin R. Ramos
Photo By: Senior Airman Franklin R. Ramos
VIRIN: 170920-F-FV476-0196

The exercise enabled the American chaplains to train with their South Korean counterparts while practicing their own skills, said Air Force Chaplain (Maj.) John Boyer, 51st Fighter Wing deputy wing chaplain.

“This exercise provides a great opportunity for [Air Force] chaplains to hone, deepen and develop their skills. But even just as important is that the South Korean chaplains are getting opportunities here that they don’t normally get,” Boyer said.

‘Great Training’

“This is new for them in many ways, so they’re getting an opportunity to work alongside us and with us to get some great training,” Boyer added.

The chaplains trained on how to provide care in a wartime environment, he said.

“They’ll see how we triage patients at the 51st Medical Group and how we provide ministry to those individuals,” Boyer said. “[Showing them] our priority of who gets seen first and how we go about caring for those individuals spiritually when they’re wounded.”

Working together, he said, helps strengthen ties between the U.S. and South Korean air forces.

U.S.-South Korean Security Partnership

“If we had to go to war, we would do it together,” Boyer said of the U.S-South Korean security partnership. “Part of the way we go together is learning how to fight together and how to spiritually care for people in a war environment.”

The chaplains also trained on how to provide ministry to individuals who may have suicidal thoughts or are conscientious objectors.

“[We have the] responsibility of taking care of the spiritual health of our military people,” said South Korean air force Chaplain (Maj.) Ka Kwang Myung, who is the Headquarters Office of Chaplains Corps planning chaplain. “It is very important to increase our spiritual combat power [together]. So sharing our experience through joint exercises will develop a better understanding of each other within the chaplain’s corps.”

Beverly Herd 17-3 trained the chaplains to work together during a crisis. However, the American and South Korean chaplains have already been training together whenever possible, Boyer said.

“We’ve been doing something at least once every month,” he said. “This is a priority for us in strengthening these capabilities [between us].”

Myung added, “Doing this joint exercise, I realize why chaplains should be here and why we are needed. With this threat from North Korea, we need to focus on taking care of our military. I think in this environment the most important thing is a very strong alliance” between South Korean and American air force members.