Lt. colonel's death in Germany ruled suicide

Published March 27, 2007

The November death of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Peter Winston of Plant City has been ruled a suicide, a military official said Monday.

The Defense Department had said in a brief statement Friday that Winston's November 2006 death in Germany was "under investigation."

In fact, the investigation concluded shortly after the 56-year-old Winston died, according to spokesman Steve Alvarez of the Army Reserve's 143rd Sustainment Command in Orlando.

The ruling is clear: Winston's death was a suicide, Alvarez said.

A 30-year veteran of the Reserve and Florida National Guard who came out of retirement at the start of the Iraq war, Winston was stationed in Kuwait. The Defense Department said Friday that Winston was stationed elsewhere.

Alvarez declined to say how Winston killed himself.

He was taken from Kuwait to a military hospital in Germany. The military issues statements on all deaths related to the Iraq war, including those not sustained in combat. Because Winston died in Germany, the Army's press staff missed the connection, even though Kuwait is considered part of the war zone, Alvarez said.

Winston graduated from Lakeland High School in 1968 and the University of Tampa. He was awarded three medals for meritorious service, including the Army Commendation Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at 813 661-2431 or ameacham@sptimes.com.