He entered the Air National Guard when it wasn’t very popular to wear the uniform – especially at the height of the Vietnam War.
But after more than 40 years of service, Master Sgt. Rickey “Hootie” Winesett is retiring.
Winesett is best known for being a “mechanic’s mechanic.” His experience and expertise with all type of engines and mechanical frames made him indispensible to the Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) and the 117th Air Control Squadron (ACS).
“He’s given a lifetime of service to the Georgia Air National Guard, the state of Georgia and the nation,” said Master Sgt. George Burnsed with the Georgia Air National Guard.
Winesett began his military career in 1970. President Richard M. Nixon and Congress had instituted the draft to fill the needs roster of the Army.
In April of 1970 and at the age of 19, Winesett had still not been drafted but felt a distinct call to serve.
Knowing the local Air Guard recruiter, he enlisted and was sent to basic training. While he was there, his family received his now meaningless draft notice.
As a fully trained aircraft engine and instrumentation mechanic, Winesett was sent to Travis Air Force Base in California to work on C-130s and C-124s that had seen service in the war.
His job was to restore their airworthiness so they could return to the conflict.
For the past 41 years, Winesett has faithfully repaired just about any and every vehicle and engine belonging to the CRTC and 117th ACS.
His most recent deployments in support of the War on Terror include Qatar, Kuwait and Norway.
Winesett and his family reside in the Richmond Hill area.