It’s always nice to run into an old friend when you’re far from home.

It’s always nice to run into an old friend when you’re far from home.

That happened recently to Capt. Kevin M. Beasley, assistant operations officer, Snd Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment COB Delta, Iraq.

“An ocean away, I was surprised and happy to see Pitt State pride flying high in the sands of the desert,” he wrote Friday in an e-mail to The Morning Sun.

Originally from Girard, he is the son of Everett and Debbie Beasley, Moundridge, formerly of Girard, and is a 1998 Girard High School graduate.

“I grew up with an integral knowledge of Pittsburg State University and the Gorillas, following sports, driving down Broadway and being involved in the community,” Beasley wrote. “When the time came for college, I chose a school in Iowa for higher learning, but found my way back to the halls of Pitt State before graduation.”

He graduated from PSU in 2003.

“When graduation came, I was still searching for myself and somehow found my way into the Army and ended up in places all over the world,” Beasley wrote. “I had remembered seeing some pictures of Gus with Pitt State alumni from around the globe and had thought how cool an idea that was. I had forgotten about it, but a few months ago found myself once again in Kuwait preparing for a deployment to Iraq. I walked into one of the dining facilities and sat down at a table, only to find Gus watching over me from above. It was a nice touch of home in the deserts of a land far away. It brought a smile to my face and once again affirmed for me that SEK really never does leave you.”

Beasley has also served in Afghanistan and in 2009 was awarded the Bronze Star for his service there as leader of a Counter-Improvised Explosives Device Team, supporting an infantry battalion in what the award citation called the “most kinetically active province in the region.”

During that time he led more than 80 combat missions, 30 post-blast investigations, 45 explosives recovery missions and supervised 25 IED turn-ins. Beasley earned the Combat Action Badge during multiple direct fire engagements with enemy forces, and he and his team safely removed more than 500 IED components and explosives from the battlefield. This was accomplished with no loss of personnel or equipment.

Beasley wrote that his family and loved ones still live and work in southeast Kansas, and he will always call “this little spot on the map” his home.

“I wanted to send this letter to say thank to all of the Pittsburg State University supporters and to all of the residents of SEK,” the captain wrote. “For even though your sons and daughters might be thousands of miles from home in a country that looks, smells and tastes like nothing you know, SEK and the pride, talent and determination you have all instilled will always be with us. From Iraq, thank you from a son of SEK.”