Meet Base Administration’s Lt(N) Winkler


2Lt Jamie Boparai
Base Administration

Family history is what led Lt(N) Colin Winkler to take the Canadian Oath of Allegiance upon joining the Canadian Armed Forces in 1988. His father joined in 1964 and his Grandfather served in the Second World War as an Artilleryman.

The journey to his current position as Base Personnel Services Officer began as a non-commissioned member cook. Diligence, competency, and leadership qualities aided in his promotions all the way to Chief Petty Officer First Class.

A few years ago, he was afforded the opportunity to join the Special Requirement Commissioning Plan.

“SRCP allows for Chief Petty Officers to commission [into the officer rank] and fill vacant positions within the service. This is a specialized program used to keep the core knowledge of the military intact while allowing CPOs to continue to serve as Officers. SRCP does not come with a formal trade, but rather employment into specialized positions,” he explains. 

His leadership role model is Capt(N) Julian Elbourne, who was his commanding officer in

HMCS Protecteur, and his command team, during the Feb. 27, 2014, fire aboard the ship while off the coast of Hawaii.

“I was the Logistics CPO2 at the time, and that was when I realized if I was to ever become a CPO1, they were the type of leaders I wanted to be like. Their leadership shined in a time of danger and uncertainty.”

His role on the ship was to ensure the attack teams and the ship’s company were sustained with food and water.

“We didn’t even have a working galley,” he says.

Food was cooked using old barbecues and an apartment-style stove that was in the commanding officer’s pantry.

“I also made sure people had places to sleep because of the damage. There were 219 people aboard at the time.”

A good leader, he adds, is compassionate and has the ability to judge each situation on its own merits.

“Leaders also have to be openminded; we are not the same navy as we were in the past and we don’t all react the same way anymore. You need to be a forward thinker, have convictions, and stand up for them. Most of all, be the example to follow.”

In his current job, he oversees the accommodations and food services of the Logistics Branch.

“I am the Head of Department and I oversee management and deal with executive issues,” he says. “My job is now a strategic thinking role rather than tactical. My duties include putting out daily fires and filtering through food requests. I also hold the responsibility of ensuring the ship-to-shore ratio of cooks and stewards are maintained at an acceptable level.”

Strategic thinking was at play recently when he helped four residents of the Chiefs and Petty Officer’s Mess get meals. The members were on course and had to trek to the Nelles Block to eat because at the time it was the only open galley during the pandemic.

“This was a difficult situation and wasn’t ideal. The distance was making timings quite stressful for them.” He arranged special accommodations for them on the Naden side, so they didn’t have to walk far for their meals.

“To do this job well you need good organizational skills, strong leadership, and knowledge and experience within the food service and accommodation environment.”

Since the breakout of COVID-19, Lt(N) Winkler has also had the opportunity to rekindle his passion for cooking. “I cook on social media, and I have 273 Twitter followers. I love showing off the skills I gained during my years as a cook.”


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