Chaplain candidate training at Liberty Chapel

U. S. Air Force Second Lt. Seth DeBartolo, chaplain candidate assigned to the 9017th Air Reserve Squadron, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., reads aloud from the Bible June 26 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Air Force Chaplain Candidate Program is a special opportunity for seminary students from all faiths to experience ministering to active duty Air Force personnel. (U. S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton)

U. S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Seth DeBartolo, chaplain candidate assigned to the 9017th Air Reserve Squadron, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., reads aloud from the Bible June 26 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Air Force Chaplain Candidate Program is a special opportunity for seminary students from all faiths to experience ministering to active-duty Air Force personnel. (U. S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Second Lt. Seth DeBartolo, chaplain candidate assigned to the 9017th Air Reserve Squadron, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is currently training here as part of the Air Force Chaplain Candidate Program.
 
The program is a special opportunity for seminary students from all faiths to experience ministering to active duty Air Force personnel.

"I feel chaplains are able to serve throughout the Air Force and have a wonderful opportunity to assist personnel in many unique ways," said DeBartolo. "For me, this program is important for two reasons.

"One, candidates get a chance to see how the Air Force works and what kind of opportunities they will have to minister," he continued. "And two, bases receive chaplain candidates who potentially have new or unique ways to minister to Airmen."

To qualify for an appointment as a chaplain candidate, applicants must meet both ecclesiastical and Air Force standards.

"The chaplain candidate program is extremely important because Air Force chaplain ministry is quite unique," explained Lt. Col. Dan Crawford, 366th Fighter Wing chaplain. "It's also important for our base because most likely the next chaplain assigned here will have been a candidate and had the chance to discover if he or she is compatible with this exciting ministry. It simply gives us better chaplains."

As chaplain candidates, members must utilize their background, education and experience to function as part of an Air Force chapel team.

"It's always been in my heart to serve God and my country," said DeBartolo. "I felt an extremely strong calling while attending Concordia College of Bronxville, N.Y., and decided to incorporate the two."

Applicants must meet all qualifications and requirements for general service according to Air Force standards.

"Like many of today's successful Airmen he is fitness oriented and interested in additional education, but just as important for a chaplain he wants serve and minister to all," said Crawford. "Second Lieutenant DeBartolo is passionate about the Air Force and ministry, I believe he will do extremely well as a chaplain."

DeBartolo is excited about the opportunity he has to mentor Airmen.

"Chaplains here are essential to the base commander's priority of taking care of Gunfighters," said DeBartolo. "I am blessed to be here and am willing and able to serve in the best capacity I can to support the chapel and complete the mission."