Trainer aims to become chaplain

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt, Carlos Rodriguez
  • Keesler Public Affairs
He was 18 years old, fresh out of basic military training and technical school. His first duty assignment? Ramstein Air Base, Germany -- a different continent and a different language. 

Airman 1st Class Kyle Beshears was lost. The Merrillville, Ind., native had never been out of the United States ... heck, he'd never been out of Indiana all that much and there he was, 4,000 miles from home in a foreign country. 

Now a staff sergeant and instructor in the 333rd Training Squadron, he recalls, "When I first got to Ramstein I was young, alone and confused." 

One day, he decided to go to a chapel service. Afterwards, the chaplain invited him and some others to dinner with his family, paying for all the meals. 

"He went so far out of his way to help us and show us some love," Sergeant Beshears recalled. "It was then that I decided I also wanted to help people." 

Sergeant Beshears has a goal of becoming an Air Force chaplain. He's nearing completion of his degree in theology and hopes to attend chaplain seminary upon his separation from active duty next summer. 

"After the night of the dinner in Ramstein, I started going to more and more chapel services and I started to talk with various base chaplains about how I could become one of them," said Sergeant Beshears. 

Though his desire to become a chaplain piqued after his experience in Ramstein, Sergeant Beshears had always been interested in religion. 

"Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted something to do with the ministry," he explained. "In fact, the first book I ever bought when I was about 8 or 9 was a commentary on the Old Testament." 

Upon joining the Air Force as a communications-computer systems operator in 2002 and finding himself stationed in Germany, he became fully fluent in German. As an airman first class, he was selected for an important position as a computer systems administrator for the command and control systems at United States Air Forces in Europe headquarters. 

During his last year in Germany, he started writing a training course for the new systems administrators coming into the job. 

"I liked writing the course," he pointed out. "I knew I would be getting out of the Air Force when my enlistment was up to attend seminary, and I looked at becoming an instructor as a great steppingstone to my goal of becoming a chaplain." 

Soon he found himself stationed at Keesler as a command and control systems instructor in the 333rd Training Squadron, one of the few senior airman instructors on the base. 

After five years in the Air Force, he was selected for promotion to staff sergeant and earned the Airman Leadership School's John Levitow Award as the top graduate of his class -- an award that combines academic achievement with votes from fellow classmates. 

Sergeant Beshears hopes his accomplishments since joining the Air Force will help him achieve his goal of becoming a chaplain and joining the officer corps. 

"I'm two classes away from my degree, and I separate in August of next year," said Sergeant Beshears. "I'm currently deciding between two chaplain seminaries -- Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago or Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. The seminary will last three years and luckily, my GI Bill will cover the tuition." 

Whichever school he chooses, Sergeant Beshears' goal of being able to help others is on the right track.