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Cardiologist's proudest accomplishment is serving country

Air Force Lt Col stands by F-16 fighter jet. Maj. John Beshai, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron flight surgeon, poses for a photo May 30, 2017 prior to a familiarization flight in an F-16 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Beshai commissioned into the Air Force Reserve October 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.)

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Five years ago at age 46, Lt. Col. John Beshai, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron flight surgeon, followed his heart and took the plunge to fulfill a dream he set aside in honor of his father’s wishes.

As an infant in 1969, Beshai and his family came to America from Egypt in pursuit of better opportunities. His father wanted him to go to college and pursue a career, but Beshai had a growing desire to serve and give back to the country that offered him and his family opportunities as immigrants. After many years as a cardiologist, he found a way to merge his career with his dream and on October 24, 2015, he commissioned into the Air Force Reserve. He says it changed his life.

“It’s been an incredible whirlwind of a ride so far,” said Beshai. “Absolutely everything in my life has changed for the best.”

Beshai has a long list of accomplishments and when he commissioned he was a cardiologist and faculty at the Arizona Mayo Clinic in the civilian sector. One year after commissioning, he left the prestigious career at the Mayo Clinic and started his own practice to have the availability to support his commitment to serve.

“I walked away to have more flexibility,” said Beshai. “I am certain my wife thought I had been breathing in too much jet fuel on the flight line; I think she thought I was absolutely crazy.”

As a flight surgeon, Beshai has made an impact at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, supporting both the Reserve and active-duty missions.

“Dr. Beshai has been such an asset for our [Total Force Enterprise] team,” said Lt. Col. Kristin ‘Mother’ Hubbard, 310th Fighter Squadron commander. “He brings a problem-solving attitude to every situation. He’s positive and honest about what is within the realm of possible but his ‘realm of possible’ is virtually anything that will support the Airmen and the mission.”

Beshai’s persistence to follow his calling at any cost and immerse himself as a Reserve Citizen Airman appears to have benefited his life for the best. His successful medical practice is currently listed number one in Arizona in his field of expertise.

“I love that I get the opportunity to serve my country and wear the uniform with all of these amazing people who sacrifice every day and serve with their heart,” said Beshai. “This has been a dream of mine as long as I can remember. Now that I have embraced the opportunity, I can honestly say that this has been the best decision of my life.”

Beshai, now 51 years old, actively spoke about his experiences in the military and expressed his gratitude for what he has learned and relationships he has developed.

“I have come to understand the true meaning of comradery and the bond that we as military service men and women have with one another,” said Beshai. “These men and women are family; true family.”

He believes he has made some of the best friends ever at Luke Air Force Base and the feeling appears to be mutual.

“He is one of the most humble, talented, and selfless officers I’ve ever worked with,” said Hubbard. “He has integrated into both the Reserve and active-duty family so much that we now consider him and his family to be like our own relatives.”

Beshai has also been in the forefront helping develop strategies to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus at Luke, to support the mission to train the next generation of fighter pilots.

“He helped us procure [Personal Protective Equipment] and thermometers for our fighter squadrons,” said Lt. Col. Paul ‘Ballz’ Killeen, 69th Fighter Squadron commander. “We are truly blessed to have him in our family.”

Beshai’s leadership exemplifies the Air Force core values.

“‘Dre’ [Beshai] fully embodies what it means to be a Reserve Citizen Airmen and an absolute role-model in all aspects of life,” said Killeen. “It takes a significant amount of dedication to be an internationally renowned cardiac electrophysiologist and still take time to be one of the best flight docs I’ve ever worked with over the past 19 years. He is always there to help our Airmen and families.”

Beshai plans to continue serving and had advice for anyone seriously wanting to join the Air Force Reserve.

“You must be committed and dedicated,” said Beshai. “Understand that not one single person is bigger than the Air Force regardless of what you do on the civilian side. Everyone wears the same uniform and everyone embraces the same core values.”

From his humble beginnings in America to his accomplishments as a surgeon and Reservist, Beshai’s success is evidence of his instilled values of respect, appreciation, and earning everything through hard work and perseverance.

“With hard work comes accomplishments of which I have been blessed. However, by far the one I am most proud of is being able to serve this amazing country. This country has provided endless opportunities for which I am grateful beyond words.”

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