CDR Thomas R. Winkler, USN
Strike Fighter Squadron EIGHT SEVEN
Commander Tom “Duck” Winkler was born in London, England and grew up in Washington, DC where he graduated from Gonzaga College High School. He went on to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and graduated in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) in May of 1996. Commander Winkler was designated a Naval Aviator in December 1999 and completed initial FA-18C Hornet training in Lemoore, California.
Commander Winkler’s first fleet assignment was to the Marauders of VFA-82 in Beaufort, South Carolina. From April 2001 to March 2004, he completed two combat deployments aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT and USS ENTERPRISE, flying during the first months of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.
In April 2004, Commander Winkler reported to the Sharpshooters of VMFAT-101 in San Diego, California for duty as an Instructor Pilot and Landing Signals Officer. In August 2005, Commander Winkler transferred to Pensacola, Florida for a two-year assignment with the Blue Angels of the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron.
In January 2008, Commander Winkler reported to the Rampagers of VFA-83 in Virginia Beach, Virginia where he served as Administrative Officer, Safety Officer, Maintenance Officer, and Operations Officer. During his tour with the Rampagers, he deployed twice aboard USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
In May 2010, Commander Winkler reported to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California for French language training in preparation for the Ecole de Guerre (French War College). He studied as an exchange officer in Paris from February 2011 to June 2012.
He served as Executive Officer of the VFA-87 Golden Warriors from December 2012 to April 2014.
Commander Winkler has accumulated over 3000 flight hours and 500 carrier arrested landings. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Strike Flight Air Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various unit and campaign awards.