Chaplain (Major General) Cecil Richardson, of Richland Center, served 41½ years in the military. Shortly after graduating from high school in Richland Center, he received a Vietnam-era draft notice and enlisted in the Air Force. His first assignment was at Syracuse University, where he received a degree in the Russian language. He was subsequently assigned to monitor Russian missile launches along the Black Sea in Turkey. After a year and a half in Turkey, he was reassigned to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Washington, D.C. Two years later he separated from the military to prepare for a life of Christian ministry.
Cecil attended Central Bible College, the University of Wisconsin, Evangel University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Wesley Seminary. Upon ordination, he pastored a church briefly and re-entered the Air Force, this time as a chaplain.
He retired in 2012 as the Chief of Chaplains, Chairman of the Armed Forced Chaplains Board, and Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on religious, ethical, and quality-of-life concerns.
Although Cecil and his wife, Dr. Jan Richardson, an author and literacy consultant, have logged millions of miles in around the world traveling in service to God and country, their hearts have always been in the woodlands of southwest Wisconsin. They love fishing, hunting, clearing trails, pruning trees on their tree farm, volunteering in various community board positions and operating a forest playground for their six grandchildren.