Chaplain Richard Koch grew up in the Midwest in Wisconsin as a military history buff who also felt a calling into ministry. After college, in the early 80s, Koch followed his calling and began ministry work. He became ordained and he and his wife co-pastored a church. But when an opportunity came up for Koch to be a part of the Army National Guard as a chaplain in Alaska in 1996, he signed up to join with his family and he never looked back. The calling didn’t stop there.
Koch was hired full-time with the Alaska Army National Guard in 2003 and shortly thereafter he was sent on two deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Several promotions later and upon his return, Koch was made State Command Chaplain. “My role is to help commanders understand the unique gifts and talents chaplains bring,” Koch says, “The Chaplain Corps as a whole has a great influence in helping provide moral leadership for the command.” Koch went from chaplain to chaplain advocate in a matter of years.
“Everyone in a unit needs to hear how they can maintain a higher degree of moral and ethical professionalism within the military,” Koch says. One of the things Koch does to ensure this is to provide professional development trainings. “Within the last couple of years we have seen a lot of people grasp the training,” he says, “It is great to see their enthusiasm.”
Koch is also a facilitator for Strong Bonds, a training that helps military couples and families thrive through the stress of being deployed, leaving home, and dealing with significant life changes. “People get a lot out of these trainings for their personal relationships,” Koch says.
Thank you for your service and for shining a light on military chaplains and families, Chaplain Koch!