Lieutenant Colonel Bethea graduated from the University of the South, Sewanee in 1995 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in August 1996. He reported to 3d Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment and deployed as a Rifle Platoon Commander with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable, to the western Pacific and the Arabian Gulf in 1998. He also served as a Rifle Company Executive Officer.
First Lieutenant Bethea reported to Second Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (2d FAST) Company, Yorktown, Virginia in May 1999, and deployed to Bahrain as the Assistant Platoon Commander of 5th Platoon. He subsequently assumed the first command of 6th Platoon, 2d FAST Company and deployed to U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from August 2000 to January 2001. He commanded 6th Platoon during a contingency mission to Bahrain from 1 March to 17 April 2001, in response to the terrorist attack on the USS Cole. Captain Bethea commanded 6th Platoon during the FAST deployment to Yokosuka, Japan from July 2001 to January 2002.
Captain Bethea graduated from the Expeditionary Warfare School in May 2003. He deployed to the Republic of Georgia as the Officer in Charge of Training with the II Marine Expeditionary Force Task Force Georgia Train and Equip Program from August 2003 to December 2003.
Captain Bethea assumed command of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment in December 2003. He commanded Charlie Company during the battalion’s deployment to the Al Anbar Province, Iraq from June 2004 to January 2005 during Operation Iraqi Freedom II and Operation Al Fajr, the second Battle for Al Fallujah. He also commanded Headquarters and Service Company during the battalion’s contingency mission throughout the Gulf Coast Region from 2 September to 1 October 2005 in support of Joint Task Force Katrina & Rita.
Major Bethea reported for duty at Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, Plans, Policies, and Operations Department, Current Operations Branch in May 2006. He served as a Watch Officer in the Marine Corps Operations Center and then as a Current Operations Briefer until May 2009.
Major Bethea graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in June 2010 and earned a Masters Degree in Military Art and Science.
Major Bethea reported for duty as the Executive Officer of 2d Battalion, 1st Marines in June 2010. He deployed to the Garmser District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan from October 2010 to May 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In August 2011, Major Bethea assumed duties as the Military Assistant to the Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD) / Regional Command Southwest and deployed to the Helmand Province, Afghanistan from February 2012 to February 2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lieutenant Colonel Bethea served as the Ground Combat Element Section Head at the Marine Air Ground Task Force Staff Training Program in Quantico, Virginia from July 2013 until May 2015.
Lieutenant Colonel Bethea commanded the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion-East from 28 May 2015 until 14 July 2017. He is currently serving as the Executive Officer for 2d Marine Regiment.