Kentucky chaplain pinned brigadier general

Story by Sgt. Lerone Simmons, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

1501111-Z-IB888-070

Brig Gen. David Graetz gets help from family members in attaching one star epaulets to his uniform during a promotion ceremony in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 11, 2015. Graetz now serves as the assistant to the Army Chief of Chaplains, Maj. Gen. Donald Rutherford in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Lerone Simmons)

FRANKFORT, Ky. -Thirty-nine years ago, a young man joined the United States Navy after a friend, who had recently enlisted, suggested the idea.

“My intention when I began this journey was to just do my four years in the Navy and earn my G.I. Bill,” Graetz said.

He served as an aviation structural mechanic, then separated from the Navy after his first contract ended.

1501111-Z-IB888-086

Army Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Donald L. Rutherford, presents Army Brig. Gen. David. E. Graetz, assistant to the Army chief of chaplains as the National Guard liaison, with a stole during his promotion ceremony at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 11, 2015. The stole formally symbolizes the responsibilities assumed with Graetz’s promotion.

For more photos, visit our flickr site here.

Now, Army Brig. Gen. David. E. Graetz serves as the assistant to the Army Chief of Chaplains, Maj. Gen. Donald L. Rutherford, as the liaison for the National Guard.

Graetz received his promotion from Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, with the assistance of his wife Gayle, and his daughter Anna, during a formal ceremony in Frankfort, Jan. 11, 2015.

He credited God and family for his military success and presented his family with gifts of appreciation during the ceremony.

“From a very young age I knew that family was important; my mother supported my father during his years as a civil rights supporter in Montgomery, Alabama,” he said. “Even after our house was bombed several times by the Klu Klux Klan, she continued her support of her family. This is their success just as much as it is mine.”

Graetz has gone on to not only support, but also influence, his family. His son-in-law, Army Capt. David Miller, chaplain assigned to the 1120th Transportation Battalion, Arizona National Guard, named Graetz as his mentor.

“He’s the reason I joined the Guard and became a chaplain,” he said. “I’ve admired how well he balances pastoring as well as being a staff officer.”

For now, Graetz plans to continue his support of Soldiers in the Army National Guard by utilizing his position to ensure their well-being.

Video story by Staff Sgt. Rebecca Wood, 133rd MPAD