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Youngest Air Force Chaplain calls Andrews home

The youngest chaplain in the Air Force, Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Kamzan, 11th Wing Jewish chaplain, is currently stationed at Joint Base Andrews, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lindsey A. Beadle)

The youngest chaplain in the Air Force, Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Kamzan, 11th Wing Jewish chaplain, is currently stationed at Joint Base Andrews, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lindsey A. Beadle)

At the end of a group hike, Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Kamzan, far right, stands proudly atop a mountain in New Castel, Va., with Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Hunsinger, left, 11 WG chaplain, and Staff Sgt. Frank Rivas, middle, 11 WG assistant on Sep. 22. Together, the men participated as mentors in a week-long, JBA Chapel sponsored wilderness retreat which culminated with a two-mile group hike on the last day of the retreat. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lindsey A. Beadle)

At the end of a group hike, Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Kamzan, far right, stands proudly atop a mountain in New Castel, Va., with Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Hunsinger, left, 11 WG chaplain, and Staff Sgt. Frank Rivas, middle, 11 WG assistant on Sep. 22. Together, the men participated as mentors in a week-long, JBA Chapel sponsored wilderness retreat which culminated with a two-mile group hike on the last day of the retreat. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lindsey A. Beadle)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Kamzan, 11th Wing Jewish chaplain, calls Joint Base Andrews home. Despite his short-lived Air Force career, the 27-year old chaplain is making a name for himself in the "Chief's Own." Revered as a leader by single Airmen during chapel-run retreats and regarded with respect and reverence by those to whom he offers counsel, Kamzan embodies the makings of an essential Team Andrews asset.

Before choosing to join the Air Force, Kamzan had plans of becoming a staff Judge Advocate General or a chaplain for NASA. However, after transferring colleges, Kamzan answered his call to become an Air Force Jewish chaplain and officially began his military career.

"I always knew I wanted to serve God and my country," said Kamzan. "I also knew that the best way to do that was to join the military and become a spiritual leader in our armed forces."

During his time as a master of divinity studies student, and in-between spending multiple summer months studying Jewish law at Yeshiva Ohr Somaych in Israel, Kamzan attended the Air Force's Basic Chaplain Course and Commissioned Officers Training School and received his commission. In April 2010, Kamzan officially became a Rabbi.

"There are only 22 people in the entire world with my job," said Kamzan. "I'm so blessed to be here, I'm not taking this opportunity for granted."

Being the youngest chaplain in the Air Force has also offered a perspective to Team Andrews, and the Air Force, that only Kamzan can provide.

"If I need to mentor someone who is a younger Airman, our generation gap is going to be smaller than if they choose to be mentored by a majority of other chaplains," said Kamzan. "Our cultures are going to be close, if not the same. People can often be intimidated by rank, but if they choose to get my help, I'll be able to relate to a majority of younger Airmen on a different level."

With guidance from surrounding 11 WG Jewish chaplains and various other Air Force leaders, Kamzan has also been able to turn his age into one of his most influential attributes.

"He definitely brings energy to our office," said Tech Sgt. Franklin Castro, NCO in charge of chapel operations. "Chaplain Kamzan is always willing to help the chapel staff out - no matter what the task. He's keen to attend chapel visitations, retreats, volunteer events - you name it. He's kind of a rock-star chaplain."

Despite being a member of the Air Force for less than five years, Kamzan has learned a great deal from his career thus far and offers advice to anyone interested in pursuing a career as a military chaplain.

"There are so many opportunities in this career field; I'm constantly growing," said Kamzan. "Being a chaplain has taught me about who I am as a person. It's also told me that being solid in one's faith is one of the most important components of being a chaplain. In this job, one has to be unyielding in their core values. A military chaplain also cannot proselytize, but instead, has to learn how to counsel and guide those individuals who are seeking guidance."

Team Andrews members have the opportunity to learn from and speak with Kamzan, or any other 11 WG Jewish chaplain, in person at weekly Jewish worship services held on Andrews. For more information regarding how to become an Air Force chaplain or about Andrews' various religious services contact the 11 WG chaplaincy at (301) 981-2111 or stop by Chapel 1 here.

"Becoming a chaplain was, I felt, the best way to serve those who serve," said Kamzan. "So far, this has been an awesome career choice. I'm excited to see where this job takes me in the future."