GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Before Tiffany Snyder joined the Air Force in 2017, she had no idea she would be one of the first 12 individuals to become a chaplain assistant straight out of training.
“When I was at basic training they gave us the list of jobs that were available that week,” said Airman Tiffany Snyder, 17th Training Wing Chapel chaplain assistant. “They told us the more options we put down the less likely we would get assigned something we didn’t want. So when I saw chaplain assistant I thought, ‘That sounds interesting.’”
Previously the Air Force specialty code of chaplain assistant was only open to noncommissioned officer level prior enlisted members who cross-trained from their previous AFSC. In 2017 the Air Force opened the field up to individuals who would attend tech school straight out of basic training.
The primary role of chaplain assistants is to provide support for the ministry. Not only through administrative work, they also are the “eyes and ears” of chaplains on visitations, deployments and many other activities.
“The main thing that is different from what I imagined is the title assistant,” said Snyder. “I thought that would be getting coffee and picking up laundry, it is much more like a partnership. We work with the chaplains to help accomplish the different plans or events they envision for the base.”
Chaplain assistant, as a job title, is soon to be retired. The career field will be changing to religious affairs specialist, better reflecting that they are not just assistants. They are there to guarantee military members and their families have the right to freely practice, or not, the religion they choose.
“Once I got to tech school I was more relieved,” said Snyder. “This career field is very small, so you get to know everyone quickly and they are all wonderful.”
After six weeks of tech school courses at Maxwell Air Force base near Montgomery, Alabama, Snyder was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas.
“I love working with chaplains, I am in a weird dynamic where you are around officers all of the time,” said Snyder. “We go with the chaplains on unit visitations and I serve as way to make Airmen who may not be comfortable approaching an officer at ease.”
The Goodfellow Chapel’s mission is to strengthen educate and inspire a spiritually fit Goodfellow community. They accomplish this through different morale events and advising individuals on a variety of topics.
In addition to the morale events offered by the chapel they also provide a variety of religious services for different faiths. If nothing is available for a particular faith, they will try to find something in the local area.
“I really love what I am doing here, I never thought out of 30 people being interviewed in basic that I would get the job,” said Snyder. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am going to try and make the best out of my first four years, and we will see where I go from there.”
Contact the Chapel: 325-654-3424, 17TRWHC@goodfellow.af.mil