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Defender finds new calling in resiliency support

Photo of an Airmen standing in front of a flag background

Tech. Sgt. James Patterson, a 919th Special Operations Wing religious affairs Airman, poses for a photo at Duke Field, Florida, August 8th, 2020. Patterson was formerly a 919th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron defender before transferring into the religious affairs career field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile)

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Tech. Sgt. James Patterson, 919th Special Operations Wing religious affairs Airman, speaks with a 919th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron Airmen at Duke Field, Florida, August 8th, 2020. Religious affairs Airmen plan religious services, schedule out times for services and engage in emergency intervention for the chaplain's office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile)

Photo of two Airmen standing across from each other

Tech. Sgt. James Patterson, 919th Special Operations Wing religious affairs Airman, reaches out to a 919th Special Operations Communications Squadron Airman at Duke Field, Florida, August 8th, 2020. Patterson makes rounds to squadrons during unit training assemblies to inform Airmen about the resiliency resources available to them. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dylan Gentile)

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- A former 919th Special Operations Wing security forces defender is back at Duke Field and now helps Citizen Air Commandos with spiritual resiliency. Tech. Sgt. James Patterson recently cross trained to religious affairs and provides crisis interventions, schedules religious services and provides support with chapel resources for 919 SOW Airmen.

“We’re excited to have him and I think he’s going to do a really great job,” said Capt. Eric Randall, a 919 SOW chaplain. “We’re all about helping Airman and I think Tech. Sgt. Patterson will do just that.”

As a defender, Patterson encountered situations such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicide that took a toll on Airmen and their families.

“Those situations weren’t just heartbreaking, they were preventable,” said Patterson. “I decided to help empower Airmen proactively handle life stressors.”

Patterson regularly attended Duke Field Chapel services during unit training assemblies. The chaplain team was familiar with who he was and when they informed him when a position became available at the 919 SOW Chapel. He decided to apply and was accepted into the position.

Since Patterson has returned to Duke Field from his technical training in April, he’s been out on the ground visiting Airmen from various squadrons to make sure they know what spiritual and resiliency resources are available to them.

“I really love being out with our Airmen every day,” said Patterson. “Visiting our squadrons, being an outlet for our Airmen, and building these connections keeps me motivated.”

 Religious affairs Airmen can help with crisis intervention counseling and provide another completely confidential outlet for Airmen to reach out for assistance or matters of conscience.

“Now I’m just growing into this position and doing what I can to help people out,” said Patterson.

If you’re interested in services offered by the chapel or would like more information about the resiliency resources available to you, check out the “chaplain” section under the “resiliency” tab on the 919 SOW app or call 850-885-3027.