Chaplain George Youstra currently serves as the Joint Staff Chaplain, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he advises the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff on: the constitutional free exercise of religion and related matters impacting Department of Defense service personnel and their families. He delivers functional expertise and situational awareness regarding the dynamics of religion and potential mission impacts across the operational spectrum. He assists in integrating chaplains and chaplain assistant/religious program specialists into joint force organizations to coordinate defense-wide religious support, He advises on moral and ethical issues related to policies, programs, initiatives, exercises and operations.

Furthermore, he liaisons with the combatant command chaplains and chaplain assistants/RPs for coordination on COCOM functional priorities, coordination of functional policy and joint operations with the Office of the Secretary of Defense through the Armed Forces Chaplain Board and the service Chiefs of Chaplains. Chaplain Youstra is the only chaplain that serves at the national strategic level and interfaces regularly with the White House, Department of State, interagency partners and international partners.

Chaplain Youstra was born in Greenville, South Carolina where he graduated from Bob Jones University in Greenville with a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies Education in 1982. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Anderson University School of Theology, Anderson, Indiana and the Master of Strategic Studies from the Air War College. Prior to his posting as the Chief of the Leadership Division, Center for Character Development, at the United States Air Force Academy, Chaplain Youstra did intensive post graduate studies at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, St. Louis in character and leadership development theory. He is currently completing work on his doctorate. Chaplain Youstra is ordained and endorsed to the chaplaincy by the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.

Chaplain Youstra spent the first 14 years of his military career in the United States Army where he was a Special Forces, Infantry, Military Policy Officer and Chaplain. In 1998, Chaplain Youstra entered active duty as an Air Force Chaplain. He has served at all levels of the Chaplain Corps from Group Chaplain, Senior Protestant Chaplain, Wing Chaplain, Numbered Air Force, and MAJCOM Staff Action Officer. His assignments have been: Keesler AFB, MS, Luke AFB, AZ, Kunsan AB, ROK, USAFA, CO, Beale AFB, CA and Ramstein AB, Germany. Finally, he has deployed in support of operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Chaplain Youstra is married to the former Rose Workman from Normal, IL. They have two sons, George III, and Taylor.

Sign up TODAY to receive the latest updates from SLU!