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SVA Voices • Adam Winkler:
As a part of our mission supporting student veterans in their transition into higher education and civilian life, Student Veterans of America (SVA) shares their success stories through SVA Voices. Through storytelling, we are able to highlight student veteran success, and inspire the next generation of student veterans.
Each April we celebrate Month of the Military child and few families exemplify this concept better than the Winckler family. Adam Winckler and his younger sister Jill are the son and daughter of South Dakota National Guard Combat Engineer, Kenneth Winckler, who enlisted when Adam was just 3 years old. After several years in the service, an opportunity presented itself for Kenneth to take a full-time Active Guard Reserve (AGR) position with the HHS 147th Field Artillery unit in Watertown, South Dakota. Adam says it was a wonderful way to provide for their family although it meant that he attended nine different school systems by the time he graduated high school. Upon graduating in 2000, Adam decided to follow in his father's footsteps by enlisting as a combat medic into the same unit as his father. Adam's father was still the supply non-commissioned officer for headquarters at the time. Soon thereafter, Jill also joined the SD National Guard as an 88M, Motor Transport Operator for a transportation unit out of Milbank, SD. According to Adam, his sister joined because she was a forward thinker and knew it would be a wonderful way to pay for a college degree. As it turns out they were both right and eventually three members of the Winckler family would become student veterans.
Within a year after 9/11, all three of the Wincklers were activated in different units for the National Guard. Jill was deployed to Kuwait City, Kuwait in 2002 running truck missions into Iraq. Adam was deployed in 2003 with the 109th Area Support Medical Battalion out of Vermillion, SD to Baghdad, Iraq. And Kenneth was activated to Fort Sill, OK; but deactivated and was not deployed. During the deployment, Adam's unit made sure that his sister was flown in to celebrate his 22nd birthday with him in Iraq.
Adam and Jill Winkler on Adam's 22nd birthday in Kuwait City, Kuwait.
After leaving the service, Jill earned a Psychology degree in December, 2010 at the University of Sioux Falls using the GI Bill. Kenneth, used his GI Bill to earn his bachelor's degree in Business at the same university and will be completing an associate's degree in H-VAC at Mitchell Technical Institute this semester.
Adam started school at the University of South Dakota in Spring of 2016. He soon became Chapter Leader of his school's SVA chapter. Adam has made good use of what refers to as "SVA's amazing resources," having participated in SVA's Leadership Institute Series. He plans to graduate in May 2019 and hopes to continue to serve veterans in higher education.
As military children both Adam and Jill have shown immense pride and respect for their father in their choice to enlist. SVA salutes all three Wincklers for both their service and their commitment to higher education.
Adam Winkler at the 2016 SVA Leadership Institute in Dallas, Texas.
SVA Voices is an ongoing campaign celebrating student veteran success. Become a part of the campaign and share your story today!