Chapel Builds Team Resilience

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Captain) Hans Z. Decker
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Chapel

The 501st Combat Support Wing Chapel took 23 Airmen tandem skydiving on Saturday 24 August, 2019 to strengthen their Comprehensive Airmen Fitness and promote Spiritual Resiliency.

 The event began with a morning of training on stress management, where Chaplain (Capt) Hans Decker discussed tools for dealing with life’s pressures. Becoming a wingman is fundamental: Airmen must support one another in hard times.

 In the afternoon, they put it into practice. Teammates boarded a plane with their instructors and headed for the skies, 13,000 feet above the English countryside.

 “I would say the anticipation was the worst part because it was the fear of the unknown,” said A1C Derek Wheeler. “It helped that I was going through the same situation as my wingman.”

 The base shrank into the distance as the plane approached altitude and the light turned green.

 A1C Emma Downing described what happened next: “For the first two seconds after I went out the door, I was absolutely petrified because I wanted to hold onto something. Then it felt like the most free moment I ever had. I wanted that freefall to last forever.”

Safely back on the ground, the Airmen were all smiles, sharing high-fives over their achievement.

 “I was definitely the most nervous person there,” said Amn Hannah Meyer. “But once I got back down, I kept thinking about how I wanted to accomplish even more.”

 That is why the Chapel ran this event. As SSgt Jeremy Wortham (Croughton’s Religious Affairs NCO) said, “Every Airman felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. That experience of taking a leap of faith and overcoming fear will follow them long after their Air Force days are over. I hope that whenever life presents a roadblock, they’ll reflect back on this moment and know that they can overcome.