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Local man learns mechanic skills, cultural norms through traveling in Army

Brandon Paykamian • Dec 13, 2019 at 7:42 PM

Chuck Winchester recently returned to the United States after being stationed overseas with the U.S. Army, where he got a chance to experience different cultures and learn more about his current work as a mechanic. 

Though he didn’t see combat, the 26-year-old Elizabethton resident said he learned some valuable skills, and he hopes to use those skills to open up his own custom auto shop in the future. 

Winchester recently corresponded with the Press to tell us about himself and his time overseas. 

Fast Facts: 

Hobbies: Books, reading, video games, model kits

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite musicians: The Misfits

Dogs or cats: Both dogs and cats

Pet Peeves: Liars

Tell us about what you did in the military and what drew you to it?

I was a wheeled vehicle mechanic and recovery operator. Basically, I worked on trucks and picked them up when they were broken down. I also did light fabrication, and that's about it. I was a specialist.

I also went to college while I was in the Army for multiple things, including auto mechanics and computer science. Both of those are still in progress. What drew me to it was the fact that I wanted to travel, cheap college, it was a thing to do and I was bored.

Where were you stationed, and what did you think of some of the customs you encountered? 

First, I was stationed in South Korea for a year, then Savannah, Georgia, where I was then deployed to Germany for nine or 10 months. Then, I came back to Savannah for about eight months and got orders to Germany for another three years. Koreans don't like it when you tip unless you're near an Army base. 

I did a lot of traveling in Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Greece and a bunch of other places I can't remember off of the top of my head. For any place I've ever been, as long as you attempt their language, they're usually pretty nice about it. Even if you can't, doing as much as saying “hi” does well.

What skills and experience did you gain in the military? 

I got a lot of my mechanic skills in the Army. I got to pick up on a little bit of everything actually, but I don’t dwell on it too much. Basically, it happened, and time to move on.

Who supported you most through your time in the military? 

My brother and sister, Nikki and Matt Byrd, and friends back here, Eddie Page and his family, my buddy Zach Smith, my other sister Ashley Brown, and then I made a few friends in the Army, of course. Noah Becker, Daniel Velazquez, Forest Napier, Suorin Wixom, Tiana Miranda and a few others.

What advice would you have for someone looking to enlist?

If you want to enlist, get something useful out of it. Don't do infantry — that has no skills on the outside career-wise anyway. And if you want to go overseas just go right for it. That’s what I did.

Enjoy it, no matter if you get a bad spot overseas. Trust me, I've stayed in a few, but don't sit in your room all the time.  

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