Tarvin is a US Army veteran with more than 30 years of service. He was chaplain with the 82nd Airborne Division and the 25th Infantry Division. He also was the Chief of Pastoral Care at Evans Army Community Hospital at Ft. Carson, Colo., and later served as Chief of Pastoral Care at the Medical Center at Ft. Lewis, Wash. Tarvin was a senior chaplain of Multi-National Corps in Iraq, where he supervised more than 300 chaplains in combat operations. In addition, he also served as Senior Chaplain for United States Army Forces Command.
Tarvin is an Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps distinguished graduate from Bowling Green State Univ. in Ohio. He is also a graduate of the Army Ranger School, Airborne School, Jumpmaster School, Air Assault School, Command and General Staff College and the US Army War College and has graduate degrees from Boston Univ., Brite Divinity School and the US Army War College.