Going above and beyond is what a Soldier is known for and why it is such a respected profession in the US.
For Chaplain (Capt.) Bryan Kimble, the desire to serve in the military came from his father who once served on active duty in the same battalion Kimble is assigned to today: The 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, part of the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
“I grew up with such a strong love and appreciation for those who serve our Republic, and later I found out that many in my family served- in fact over a dozen in our nation’s War for Independence,” said Kimble. “As I continued to pray for those serving, I felt God working on my heart to serve the nation and our Soldiers, and I rose my right hand to swear in.”
This “Bandit Shepard”, however, is not your ordinary chaplain. His passion for weightlifting allowed him to represent the “Bandits” during the 2019 Natural Athlete Strength Association Texas Championship in the MPF (Military, Police, and Firefighter) and Masters-Pure division of 198 lbs. weight class for both Power Sports and Unequipped Push Pull.
“Power Sports is strict curls, bench press and deadlift,” explained Kimble. “It is raw- no support equipment but a 4-inch belt. Unequipped Push Pull is a bench press and deadlift- also raw.”
Both divisions require drug free lifters; MPF with three years of being drug free and Masters-Pure, a lifetime.
Overall, he placed first in each of these divisions for his weight class: first overall (based off coefficient) for Power Sports, and forth for the Push-Pull event.
In this process, he also set six Texas state records – four in Power Sports and two in Push/Pull. He is now on the National Top 250 Rankings at 22nd for Power Sports and 34th for the Push/Pull event.
To complete such a feat comes from a strong support system that he has found in his faith and his “best-half,” Jessica.
“They give me strength and motivation to get up to hit the gym at 5 a.m. prior to unit physical training.”
Kimble had to go through many obstacles to get to the level of competitor he is today. He had to undergo surgery for severe migraines in 2017, which led to an extreme recovery phase.
“The medical professionals would not allow me to complete more than four reps, let alone compete,” he said. “I had to gradually take time after the surgery to recover and start working towards completing a one-mile run again.”
He knew, due to his faith, that he would recover and be able to pursue his passion through hard work and continued dedication.
He urges Soldiers to also go after their passion and offers his story to help them see the positive in down times.
“Make sure you are doing it all for the right reasons,” warns Kimble. “Learn proper techniques prior to pushing yourself and stay away from short cuts such as performance enhancing drugs. Overall, never accept defeat. If you fail, then learn and adapt but never accept it as a defeat.”