Before he could drive a car, Lt. Col. Joseph Winter was flying planes. He joined the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet in high school and remained active while he was a student at St. Thomas Aquinas College. This was the beginning of his long and dedicated career of service and inspired his love of flying. In 2008, Joseph officially joined the United States Air Force.
“Day in and day out, I get to lead an incredible group of airmen and civilians who are trained professionals renowned for their combat capabilities,” he says.
Commander of the 175th Wing Force Support Squadron for the Maryland Air National Guard, Joseph ensures that the day-to-day needs of 1,400 military personnel and their families are met. The 175th Wing is home to the fighter and cyberspace operations groups, which Joseph supports by overseeing the recruiting process and their training activities.
As a student at STAC, he cultivated leadership skills as the president of student government and manager of the men’s basketball team for four years. “STAC opened my eyes to the world around us and afforded me an opportunity to practice leading my peers, a skill that has paid dividends for my whole life,” Joseph says.
While he always knew he would one day join the Air Force, it was Joseph’s experience at STAC that sparked his interest in higher education. After earning his bachelor’s degree in sports management/recreation and leisure, Joseph pursued a master’s degree in teaching at Sacred Heart University. When he graduated in 2002, he accepted a full-time position as the assistant director of student life at Loyola University Maryland. Noting that his passion for serving the country grew even stronger after 9/11, Joseph says he transitioned to part-time employment at Loyola in order to join the U.S. Air Force-Maryland Air National Guard. After his initial training, he served in the office of the deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs at the Pentagon. He helped manage a $2 billion Air Force programming budget before transitioning into a leadership training position where he developed future Air Force leaders.
Nearly 20 years later, Joseph has successfully managed dual careers and, besides his current post with the Maryland Air National Guard, he continues to work at Loyola where he is an affiliate professor of public relations. “It’s always been a perfect balance of serving my country while continuing to stay engaged in higher education,” Joseph says. “In both environments, I get to make a difference in our society, and that’s very rewarding.”
To this day, Joseph remains involved in the Civil Air Patrol as chief of education and training, which provides educational training and development for over 38,000 members.
In his long and dedicated tenure with the U.S. Air Force, Joseph has traveled across 50 states and around the globe, visiting all but two European countries.