After more than 30 years of military service, George Youstra Jr. will be commissioned as a colonel in the United States Air Force on Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. in War Memorial Chapel.
“I’m looking forward to coming home to Bob Jones for my promotion ceremony to colonel,” Youstra said. “I grew up on campus as a faculty kid, and BJU has always been considered my home. It’s only through God’s grace that I’ve been blessed and privileged enough to serve my God and my country in the unique and fascinating places He’s placed me.”
The ceremony will be followed by a reception in the lobby of Rodeheaver Auditorium where attendees can meet and congratulate Youstra on his accomplishment.
Born and raised in Greenville, Youstra graduated from BJU with a B.S. in social studies education, and he also hold two master’s degrees: one in divinity from Anderson University of Theology and one in strategic studies from the Air War College.
Youstra began his military career in the Army where he served for 14 years in Special Forces, Infantry and as a Military Police officer and as a chaplain.
In 1998 Youstra entered the Air Force as a chaplain, and he also pastored a church in Indiana from 1991 to 1998. While in the Air Force Youstra has served in both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he led the largest Air Force chapel staff in the country.
Currently, Youstra serves as the Joint Staff Chaplain in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In this position he advises on issues dealing with the promotion of religion in the Air Force.
Youstra discussed two of the challenges he has faced over the course of his military career. The first is the obvious challenge of being on the opposite side of the world from your family.
Youstra had to spend a lot of time away from his wife and two sons and regrets the parenting opportunities and milestones he missed.
The second difficulty was the challenge to his faith.
“When you see the horrors of war it causes one to either run from or seek the Lord more intimately,” Youstra said. “I’m so thankful for a faithful wife, parents, and pastor friends who walked that journey with me.”
Dr. Gary Weier, Vice President for Academic Affairs, described his excitement for the commissioning ceremony.
“I was thrilled when Chaplain Youstra asked if we would host his promotion ceremony here on our campus,” Weier said. “God has opened incredible doors of opportunity for him, and he’s faithfully followed Christ through each of them.”