CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea—David Montes, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Far East District (FED) project manager, was commissioned from Master Sgt. to Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve as a chaplain candidate, Nov. 20, 2019
Montes previously supported the district as an operations noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Aug. 2018 - Aug. 2019. He is a reserve Soldier that has served in the Army for more than 20 years. After completing his time at the district, he left Korea and went back to his civilian job as a police officer in Savannah, Ga.
During his time in Korea, Montes and his family made many connections and wanted to return to Korea and find a civilian position within the FED. He applied and was hired as a project manager with the Installation Support Branch.
“I am enjoying the job thus far,” said Montes. “It’s extremely challenging and it requires another operating language I have to learn now. There are a lot of small details that you have to master in order to keep projects on track.”
Prior to working as a Soldier with the FED, Montes was assigned to work in Afghanistan. While working in Afghanistan Montes began speaking with a recruiter who assured him that he could fulfill his desire to become an Army chaplain.
“I have been in ministry since 2008,” said Montes. In my own time, I volunteered at church and I was a governing elder in Chicago. We were involved in mission trips in ministry and small group bible study. My wife and I have been doing that for years.”
Montes went on to state that he felt it was a natural transition for him to become a chaplain.
“I had the chance to minister to Soldiers in an unofficial capacity when they would come to me with problems,” said Montes. “I would approach their problems with my life experience. With that it gave me the opportunity to talk to people about the Lord, with their permission.”
While working as an operations NCO, Montes began the process to become a chaplain. He stated that it was a long process but definitely worth it for him to complete his goal.
After receiving a direct commission to second lieutenant, Montes still has requirements he must fulfill as a chaplain candidate such as completing his graduate degree studies.
“Once I am done with that I will go ahead and get selected to be in the chaplain corps and be promoted to Captain,” said Montes. “In the meantime I will be shadowing a chaplain and performing certain type of duties related to the chaplaincy, learning about the job, actually going through practicums and certain types of training like chaplain BOLC [basic officer leader course]. As I understand it that will be the scope of what I will be doing for the next few years. The main focus will be to finish my masters.”
Montes plans to complete his graduate studies by May 2024 and looks forward to learning and growing more within his job as a project manager with the district.
“I am grateful to be here,” said Montes. “We [My family and I] are really grateful to the team for bringing us on board. We are proud to be a part of a great team. There are a lot of great people here and a lot of great leadership.”