As the U.S. Army celebrates the 246th anniversary of the Chaplain Corps, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command welcomes its newest team member: Command Chaplain (Lt. Col.) David Beavers.
In a career that has spanned 20 years and many duty stations around the world, this is Beavers’ first assignment at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and he is looking forward to this chapter in his career.
Beavers began preaching at the age of 19 and had appointments in churches in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia before joining the Army. He was serving as the pastor of a church in Georgia when he felt a calling on his heart from God to look at the chaplaincy.
“The United Methodist Church was reaching out for chaplains, and I started looking into that and praying about it,” said Beavers. “I started exploring that in 2000 and came onboard in July 2001.”
Beavers believes his primary role as command chaplain is to take care of Army personnel and their families, specifically addressing religious or spiritual needs and providing counseling support.
“We are an excellent outlet for people regardless of what's going on in their life. Good, bad or however they perceive something,” said Beavers. “Whatever is said to me in a counseling session stays put. It’s strictly confidential and, because of that, we’re able to provide an outlet for people to get a lot of stuff off their chest that they might be concerned about.”
A cornerstone of the mission of an Army chaplain is to “build up society through individual relationships”, which became a real challenge during the COVD-19 pandemic. As with most support professions, chaplains were forced to adapt the ways in which they provided services to Soldiers, civilians and their families.
“I've seen an uptick in virtual support, which was very rare prior to the prior to the COVID outbreak. Before that, it was almost exclusively face-to-face,” said Beavers. “We continued to do that but, with people in quarantine, we would have to get ‘kitted up’ in [personal protective equipment]. There were lots of personal protective measures required for us to be able to provide direct support.”
Fortunately, Beavers sees that as somewhat of a blessing in disguise as it opened up new avenues to reach people – through virtual means. It also gave younger chaplains, those who were tech-savvy, the chance to showcase their hidden talents and enable the chaplaincy to quickly adapt during an unprecedented global health crisis.
“When COVID hit, we had to go completely virtual – even our religious education program stopped,” said Beavers. “We started providing virtual services, recording and broadcasting the [worship] services, and that allowed our younger chaplains to really shine. They actually knew how to do the virtual stuff versus some of us who are older.”
All jokes about age aside, Beavers’ experience, compassion and appreciation for the mission of the Chaplain Corps make him an asset to AMCOM.
“I entered my first pulpit as a pastor at age 19 and my dad's advice back then was, ‘Love the people,’” said Beavers. “So that is my goal, everywhere I serve, is to love the people. I have a heart for ministry and want to do what I can to help folks, whether that's helping them through a difficult time in life, whether that's helping them in a positive time of life to celebrate with them.”
Prior to his arrival at AMCOM, Beavers was most recently the command chaplain for Area Support Group-Kuwait, a position he held for one year. Other assignments include Fort Stewart and Fort Benning, Georgia; Charlottesville, Virginia; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Korea; and Fort Bliss, Texas.