2-1 ADA soldier pursues degree in theater arts
CAMP CARROL, South Korea—During a visit to the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade “Dragons,” on Osan Air Base, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, recognized soldiers for various accomplishments and met one Air Defender that stood out not only for his professional accomplishment but also for his artistic aspirations.
Sgt. Guido de Best, an Air Defender with Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, entered the Army in 2011 as a specialist with an undergraduate degree in theatre and is currently pursuing his master’s degree in the same field.
While in middle school, de Best’s participation in a school play marked the event that ultimately led to a newfound desire for what 19th century playwright Oscar Wilde dubbed, “the greatest of all art forms.”
“I participated in a school play and just got hooked,” he said.
His passion for acting and play writing became more than just an interest.
It was an “obsession” that drove him to earn his bachelor’s degree from Ripon College in Wisconsin, said de Best.
Acting is “an entirely different kind of adrenaline rush,” said de Best. “Standing in front of a room filled with people staring at you, listening to what you say, and watching what you do!”
So, what does a theatre degree have to do with the Army?
"Actually, it's made me very comfortable speaking in front of crowds, giving briefings, and even taught me how to be aware of how I move and present myself," said de Best.
His own interest and success has fostered additional awareness of theatre arts in fellow Soldiers, including his chain of command, because it’s not often you find a Soldier with a theatre degree, explained de Best.
de Best offered encouragement to other Soldiers thinking about pursuing an unusual college discipline.
"I think it's a great idea! Any degree will help a person improve as a professional,” said de Best. “And besides, you never know how skills from a unique degree will apply themselves in your career.”
Once he has completed his master’s degree, de Best says he intends to pursue a doctorate and become a professor of the arts himself.