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Winkeler delivers the stars

Air Force Gen Darren W. McDew, commander U.S. Transportation Command presents Diane Winkeler, recent retiree from the command with a certificate recognizing her 39 years of federal civilian service during her retirement ceremony in the East Lobby, USTRANSCOM headquarters, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, March 23, 2018. Winkeler was one of the few civilian personnel to work for all 12 USTRANSCOM commanders during her tenure of service.

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Diane Winkeler, foreign and domestic travel specialist to the U.S. Transportation Command commander, retires during a ceremony March 23, 2018, after 39 years of federal civilian service which included working for all 12 USTRANSCOM commanders.


The Breese, Illinois, native graduated from Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese and began her civil service career in May 1979 as secretary for the aircraft maintenance division in then-Mobility Airlift Command’s logistics directorate.


She was later promoted as the directorate’s secretary, then in February 1986 moved to the MAC command section as travel coordinator for Gen. Duane H. Cassidy.


"When USTRANSCOM was activated in 1987, Gen. Cassidy was dual-hatted as both the MAC and USTRANSCOM commander," said Winkeler. "It was a dual-hatted position until the two commands split in September 2005 and Gen. Norton A. Schwartz was appointed as the first full-time USTRANSCOM commander."


During her career, Winkeler coordinated more than 3,000 trips to seven different continents, enabling all 12 USTRANSCOM commanders to complete key engagements in more than 100 countries.


“The commanders, deputy commanders, chiefs of staff, security agents, executive officers and aides have all been outstanding people,” she said. “We quickly developed team integrity during each transition, and everyone brought a lot of energy and ideas to make USTRANSCOM even better.”


Despite a challenging work schedule, Winkeler attended night school classes and received an Associate in Applied Arts degree from Kaskaskia Junior College, based in Centralia, Illinois. She also found time to enjoy her favorite hobbies.


“I love to travel with family and friends, read, walk, follow my favorite sports teams and play cards,” said Winkeler. “I’ve been in my monthly ladies’ poker club for more than 30 years.”


Winkeler expects life after retirement to remain busy.


“I plan to travel and read more, remodel my kitchen, and volunteer at the hospital in Breese, the grade school, church and hopefully more places,” she said.


Winkeler credits her husband Gary and their daughters, Beth and Molly, for helping her have a successful career.


“My family’s constant love and support allowed me to be the best I could be in my job,” she said. “It was easy to find professional satisfaction because my home life was happy and stable.”


Winkeler said she’ll miss meeting and getting to know new friends as she did when the command staff changed every few years.


“Each commander brought a fresh perspective to my job and renewed my commitment to excellence,” she said.  “I am extremely proud to be a member of the USTRANSCOM family and will always remember the people who served with me.”

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