Cadet Company: F1
Date of Birth: February 1, 1946
Brigadier General (Ret) Raymond J. Winkel, Jr. passed away August 30th at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda, MD, following a long battle with cancer. He was born Feb 1st, 1946, in Baltimore, MD, the eldest child of Raymond and Nellie Winkel. From an early age, serving in the military was one of his life directing passions. Upon finishing high school at the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, he received an appointment to United States Military Academy at West Point at the age of 17. Even as one of its youngest members, he graduated in the top 5% of his class in 1967, and volunteered upon graduation to go to Vietnam as part of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. He was severely wounded three months into his tour. During his convalescence, he turned to another great passion: physics. He received permission to obtain a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, which he completed in 1969. Despite suffering mobility problems from his wounds, he volunteered for a second tour of duty in Vietnam, where he commanded Delta Company, an engineering unit assigned to the 23rd Infantry (Americal) Division. He returned to the United States in 1970 and was assigned as a student at the Engineer School, Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. While there, he met Sally Hajdu who he married in 1972 while he was assigned to Germany. Other assignments included Ft. Leavenworth, KS, the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, and Saudi Arabia. After ten years of service, he was selected to the permanent faculty at West Point where he was able to combine his love for the Army, for physics, and for teaching. He returned to U. C. Berkeley to study with Sumner Davis, and completed his Ph.D in 1984 after which he returned to teach physics at West Point. He was selected to be the Head of the Department of Physics in 1987. He insisted on continuing with the classroom instruction of Cadets in addition to the duties of department head, and taught Physics to cadets each semester until he retired. In addition to his teaching and administrative duties at West Point, he conducted research at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and served overseas, including as scientific liaison for the Army in Australia and England. Recent assignments to Iraq and Afghanistan have helped these countries develop their military academies. He was an ardent supporter of cadet sporting teams, and served as Officer Representative to Army hockey and track teams. When he retired in June of 2009, he was the senior active duty Colonel in the Army and the last member of the West Point Class of 1967 still on continuous active duty. Ray and Sally made their home at West Point open to cadets, their families, classmates and many friends. They maintained an extensive network of friends across the country who will sorely miss him. He loved to travel for pleasure, was a connoisseur of fine wines, and a life-long fan of the Baltimore Orioles. He is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Sally, a sister June Hudak of Brookfield CT, and nephews and a niece.
Donations made by made in Ray’s memory to CAUSE –