Chaplain, LTC Rick (Lesa) Winchester, USA (New South Conference) entered the Army Reserve as a Private in October 1980. While working on his B.A., he served as a pastor of a 4-point church charge for the Methodist Church. In 1994 he enrolled at Asbury Theological Seminary. While completing his seminary education he entered the U.S. Army Chaplain Candidate Program where he served as a chaplain in the Army National Guard. Following graduation, he returned to North Carolina where he served as pastor for two different church appointments.
Chaplain Winchester returned to active duty serving three times as a Battalion Chaplain. In 2005 he was selected for Clinical Pastoral Education, Fort Gordon, GA with a follow-on assignment to Fort Gordon, Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center as Chaplain Clinician. Upon promotion to Major, he was assigned to United States Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC. Follow on assignments included Special Operations Command HQ, then assigned to Chaplain Center and School as Chief of Individual Military Training, Fort Jackson, SC. Following this, he was assigned to two successive Command Chaplain positions at Ft. Bragg, NC.
His deployments include three times to Afghanistan and once to Iraq. Chaplain Winchester has been awarded many medals over the years including the prestigious Bronze Star. Rick shares that the most fulfilling aspect of chaplaincy was supporting soldiers as they were healing from wounds received in combat, the loss of their peers, and honoring soldiers who gave their lives for something greater than themselves. Rick and Lesa have two children Jessica (37), Benjamin (34), and 5 grandchildren. They are currently enjoying some time off after 40 years of service. They plan to continue ministry through community volunteer service with the hope of returning to a chaplain position in the near future.