Green Bay, Wis. (WFRV) – Simple words describe Cheryl Winkel’s choice to enlist in the Navy back in 1969.
“I liked the uniforms, and my oldest brother was in the Navy,” Winkel said.
Her brother Steve was already in, so she thought, ‘Why not me, too?’
She got a little homesick during basic training at Bainbridge, but a letter from her mother convinced her to stay.
“She said, ‘You’re finally doing something worthwhile and you want to give it up?’ That’s the essence of what she said,” recalled Winkel.
Winkels mother would prove to be right.
After Bainbridge, Winkel went to Great Lakes for corps school and then to Corpus Christi, Texas where she worked at the hospital.
“You could work in the OBGYN Clinic, the general clinic where people just walked in because they weren’t feeling good. You could be put on the ICU Ward.. It’s so neat be able to say, ‘Hey you need this, or I can help you with that,'” she said.
Winkel said she never much reflected on her service after she got out in 1972 until she went to Washington D.C. on the Old Glory Honor Flight. That, she said, changed everything.
“You know, I’ve been (to Washington, D,C,) before with friends, and it was fun, we had a good time. But being there with fellow veterans made it that much more sacred if you want to say that. It was fantastic, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything,” Winkel said.
Though she never served overseas. Winkel says that Old Glory Honor flight reminded her just why she enlisted that day back in 1969.
“I tell people that’s the smartest thing I ever did. Serving this country is an honor, I think,” she said.
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