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Pope chaplain assistant provides support for deployed servicemembers

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Adam Crown
  • 43rd AG PAO
Deploying can be stressful for anyone.

Returning home can bring a whole new set of challenges and everyone needs a person to talk to from time to time.

Staff Sgt. Sharon Morrisey, a chaplain assistant from the Pope Chapel filled that role while stationed at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. She helped support the spiritual needs and well-being for both the permanent party and transitioning personnel, by facilitating chapel programs, activities, administrative responsibilities and visitations.
However, most of her time deployed was spent conducting visitations to Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines who were transitioning to and from the area of responsibility.

"Providing support for all the services was a great learning experience," said Sergeant Morrisey. I had an opportunity to learn a little more about the different rank structures and Army regulations, I have concluded that both Army and Air Force Chaplain Corps are about meeting the needs of the people."

Deploying in a joint environment has it's unique requirements for chaplains and their assistants, but not long after being there, Morrisey said she realized she was doing exactly what she had been trained to do. "I spent a lot of time listening, providing toiletry and coffee items and maintaining a tranquil place to sit and gather thoughts to those brave men and women leaving or returning home," said Sergeant Morrisey.

Now, as a more seasoned non-commissioned officer on her fourth deployment, Morrisey said she had more confidence in herself and how to best help individuals in need and determine whether they needed me to listen or needed to be refer to a chaplain or another helping agency.

"As a chaplain assistant, I also found myself mentoring and advising," said Sergeant Morrisey. She took her job to heart while deployed; she would even go in on her days off.

"I felt like they needed me," said Sergeant Morrisey. "They were coming from places that were under fire." Sergeant Morrisey was able to make contact with all the individuals processing through her station, whether it was through a mass briefing or talking to individual's one-on-one.

"I was able to make a difference in their lives," said Sergeant Morrisey. "I would meet and welcome them to the AOR (area of responsibility) or just say good-bye and thank them for their service. That deployment jump-started me and re-charged my Air Force battery."

With that jump start came a reminder of what serving in that role means to her and why she was there as a chaplain assistant.

"Sometimes we get acclimated or stagnant in our career and my deployment reminded me of my purpose and the big picture of what is expected of me as a chaplain assistant and NCO," said Sergeant Morrisey.

Morrisey brings insight to Airmen who are getting ready to deploy.

"Be confident in the training the Air Force has provided you," she said. "They will issue all the materials you need to get though your deployment. There is still a role you have to take in preparing. "You need to be emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually ready."

The need to be ready is seen in the hours Morrisey worked. She was on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Sergeant Morrisey embodies our Air Force core values. She demonstrates rock-solid integrity, excellence every day and is ready 24/7," said Chaplain (Capt.) Jason Botts, Pope chaplain. Sergeant Morrisey was ready to respond at a moment's notice to meet the needs of all the servicemembers transitioning through the AOR.

"When my religious support team and I got there, we hit the ground running to meet the needs of thousands transitioning through the area of responsibility," said Sergeant Morrisey. "The satisfaction I gained from that will be everlasting."