The former head chaplain of Cannon Air Force Base will return this fall to serve as pastor of Faith in Christ Lutheran Church of Portales.
Chap. (Lt. Col.) Gary Piepkorn served as the 27th Fighter Wing chaplain at Cannon from 1994 to 1997, and is currently serving as senior chaplain at Onizuka Air Force Station in Sunnyvale, Calif. Piepkorn will retire this fall after 37 years in the military and announced on Dec. 22 that he would accept the pastorate of the small Portales church, affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
The Portales church has been without a pastor for several years and the Rev. Scott Blazek of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Clovis is serving as its vacancy pastor. The congregation currently meets at 2 p.m. for worship on Sunday with Bible classes and Sunday school.
Blazek said Piepkorn, a Minnesota native, began his military career in the Coast Guard, then went back to college, graduating in 1967 with a degree in agriculture and working as a dairy farmer for six years before reentering the military. He later graduated from Concordia Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1981 and was ordained as an Air Force chaplain. His wife Judy is a staff nurse at the blood and bone marrow transport unit of Stanford University Hospital.
Besides Cannon, Piepkorn’s other duty stations included postings in Texas, Korea, Norway, and England.