Lorraine Potter, Maj Gen., USAF (Ret), Immediate Past President

Lorraine K. Potter has been a trailblazer in civilian ministry and military chaplain leadership for thirty years. From being the first American Baptist woman ordained in the state of Rhode Island in 1971, she became the first woman chaplain in the United States Air Force in September 1973. Over the years she has acquired many other firsts:

  • First woman chaplain to serve as a senior chaplain for an Air Force wing;
  • First woman chaplain to serve at the Department of Defense level;
  • First woman chaplain to serve as Command Chaplain (US Air Force in Europe & Air Education and Training Command); and,
  • First woman chaplain in all military services to be promoted to Colonel in 1992, Brigadier General in 1999; and, Major General in 2001, to then serve as Chief of the Air Force Chaplain Service.

She dramatically demonstrated women?s ability to serve our nation with distinction at home and overseas, from Asia to Europe in all aspects of civilian and military communities. When assigned to bases in the United States, Chaplain Potter served on church and social agency boards, worked community action projects and shared her skills as a certified trainer and educator in pastoral care and family support systems.

Chaplain Potter retired from active duty as senior chaplain in the Department of Defense on June 1, 2004 and resides in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Robert “Rocky” Saunders, Chaplain (Colonel), United States Army retired. In retirement her professional activities include guest speaker and preacher for military and civilian organizations; member of Fisher House, Inc. board of directors at Lackland AFB, TX; recent member of the board of trustees of Keuka College, Keuka Park, NY; and, volunteer chaplain at area retirement and nursing homes.