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Team Dover opens new base chapel
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new base chapel Feb. 25, 2013, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Carper stated the new chapel is very special and serves a special purpose for the country. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Tucker)
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Team Dover hosts ceremony opening new base chapel

Posted 2/26/2013   Updated 2/26/2013 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Chuck Walker
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/26/2013 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- With the Air Force's increasing emphasis upon resiliency, the spiritual pillar of the Comprehensive Airman Fitness model got a boost as the base hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the new base chapel Feb. 25, 2013, at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

The new $8.7 million dollar center, open since December, replaces the old base chapel that was built in 1956. The new chapel was built on the same site as the old chapel and will provide Team Dover a place of worship for all of its Airmen.

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Dennis Saucier, 436th Airlift Wing head chaplain, said the new chapel will provide easy access, especially for single Airmen who live in the dorms. Chapel services and counseling were hosted by the Carpenter Chapel and the offices were temporarily housed at the old elementary school, both located in base housing, before the new facility opened.

"This new facility provides a wonderful opportunity for our single Airmen to be able to participate in religious and social activities," Saucier said. "Before the Airmen had to travel to base housing and go through two gates to participate or seek services. We have seen an increase in counseling since we opened this new chapel."

The new chapel which is 19,343 square feet, is a state-of-the-art facility which includes not only the worship center, but includes a playroom, and an annex for grieving families as part of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operation.

Nearly 30,000 service members and government civilians who lost their lives overseas have been brought to Dover since the 1950's. Since 2009, when the policy changed allowing family members to come to Dover to witness the dignified transfer of their fallen service members, more than 8,000 family members have traveled to Dover to witness those ceremonies. 

Taking care of the families of the fallen is not just a mission of AFMAO. "The support of our fallen warriors is not just a job for the mortuary or Dover Air Force Base; it is the collective mission of all of us as citizens of the United States," Col. John Devillier, AFMAO said.

Not only does the new chapel house the annex for AFMAO, but will be the main chapel for the base, providing worship and counseling services for Team Dover members.

Col. Rick Moore, 436th Airlift Wing commander, said Airmen will be ready for their mission with the new world-class facility.

"This is a place of worship, a place of happiness, and a place where we can come together as a community, spiritually," Col. Moore said.

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