SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – He may not wear medieval armor while on horseback wielding a man-sized sword, but he does live by a code of honor as a knight.
Through dedication and motivation, Chaplain Maj. David Kruse, 82nd Training Wing, has achieved knighthood through the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem during a ceremony in Ft. Worth, Texas, Oct. 25.
The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem is a Catholic organization that recognizes and promotes priests who have exemplified high standards of religious dedication and work ethic. As a Catholic chaplain in the military, Kruse is already among a chosen few. According to the Archdiocese for Military Services, the supervising body for Catholic chaplains, Catholics make up 25 percent of the military, while only eight percent of military chaplains are Catholic themselves.
Kruse described the ceremony as a somber and eye-opening moment.
“It was a very riveting and spiritual experience,” he said.
During the ceremony, each candidate approached the presiding Grand Master and was tapped on the shoulder with a sword. As the concluding rite began with the uttered sentence of “blessed be the name of the Lord,” each candidate was accepted in an elite brotherhood. Characterized as an honor for Kruse, it is a motivating factor for the faith he preaches and the service members he provides for.
“My role is to defend the faith through my contribution to church and society,” he said. “It’s an honor.”
While Kruse holds pride in his accomplishment, he looks toward those he preaches to as his motivation and beacon of support.
“My success can only be measured through the community in which I serve,” he said.
Kruse initially joined the military as a chaplain because he felt it was a profession that he was fated to do. He noted that oftentimes throughout multiple deployments and moving to new locations, the one constant for many service members was the church and the faith they adhered to.
“I felt I was being called,” he said. “I felt I could best serve by being that stability.”
As a chaplain, Kruse wants to allow others to better themselves through their faith, so they can become better individuals overall.
“It’s our (chaplains) responsibility to provide opportunities for people to practice and grow with their faith,” he said.
Although Kruse focuses on the religion of those he preaches to, he also makes sure that his members are ready to complete the Air Force mission through spiritual preparation.
“If they (service members) have a foundation then they can focus on the mission that’s been entrusted to them,” he said.
The priest to the Airmen here might not be seen any time soon riding around base on horseback in shining armor, but he will be ready to take on the spiritual needs of the Airmen and their families, as a knight defends the realm.