In Memoriam: Col William T. Winkert
“This is what the whole program is about: dedicated individuals devoting time and resources to a program that can help their fellow man.”
- (Then) Lt Col William T. Winkert reflecting on his first wing conference as the newly installed Missouri wing commander, Missouri Wing quarterly newsletter, December 1974
Col William T. Winkert, former Missouri Wing commander and long-serving member of the Table Rock Lake Composite Squadron, has passed away at the age of 89.
Col Winkert served as Missouri’s thirteenth wing commander from June 1974 to December 1976, and rejoined CAP from retirement to help form the Table Rock Lake Composite Squadron in Branson, Missouri.
In addition to commanding the wing, Col Winkert served in multiple roles at the wing, group, and squadron level. At the time of his death, he was serving as the Missouri Wing’s assistant director of logistics, as well as his squadron’s advisor to the commander and assistant disaster preparedness officer. Previous wing duties included: counterdrug officer, emergency services officer, assistant government relations advisor, assistant inspector general, as well as serving as advisor to the commander of the Arizona Wing. Finally, he was very active in communications at the group level.
Col Winkert’s CAP awards were numerous and included the U.S.A.F. Organizational Excellence Award, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Crisis Service Award, and the General Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager Aerospace Education Achievement Award. He held a specialty track master rating in logistics. In 2016, Col Winkert received Missouri Wing’s John E. Otradovec Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his years of conspicuous, consistent, and sustained service and leadership to his squadron, group, and wing.
“I first met Col Winkert when we reactivated the Branson squadron and he rejoined CAP,” said Col Tom Martin, Missouri Wing commander. “I can't praise him enough for his dedication to our cadets and the CAP program in every way possible. He was always there to help out and give advice. He was a fountain of information and remained very active until recent health issues. I don’t know of any time he said, ‘No’, when asked to assist.”
“(Col Winkert) was very active in our squadron almost until his passing,” noted former Table Rock Lake Composite Squadron commander, Lt Col Chuck Stone. “He was a very good HF radio operator and would attend most meetings and special events like the Branson Airport airshows and help staff the recruiting booth and talk to people about the benefits of becoming a CAP member. He was also a meteorologist and often gave presentations to squadrons and the local schools during our ACE programs. He will be missed, may he rest in peace.”
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Col Winkert held a long career in meteorology serving as an instructor with the National Weather Service and the Lockheed Martin Flight Service Academy. He is survived by his wife, Janell, and 7 children, 20 grandchildren, 40 great grandchildren, and 6 great great grandchildren.
A service will be held on Tuesday, July 26th, at 1:00 p.m. at Fat Daddy's BBQ, 16020 US Highway 160, Forsyth, MO 65653 – a restaurant owned by John Winkert, one of Col Winkert’s sons.