Veteran of the Month Chris Wetzler

By Milan Eagle Media

He was born in Toledo, Ohio son of a WWII veteran that was Captain in Army Intelligence. His dad always wanted to build a house in the woods so in 1957 Chris Wetzler moved from Ohio to Michigan where dad built the house and Chris later graduated from Ida High School. Chris attended U of M for 3 semesters and transferred to Washtenaw Community College. This transfer changed more than education, because he was no longer a full time student he was re-classified. Chris discussed this with his dad and it was suggested that Chris enlist and speak with a recruiter to learn a skill he could use for life, Army Security Agency (ASA).
In 1967 Chris joined the Army and went for basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, then Advanced Cryptographic Training (coding and decoding communications security Monmouth, N.J. ( HQ for the Army Signal Corps. ) until June-July 1968
From there Chris was deployed to Vietnam. He started out in Pleiku-Central Highlands, up in the mountains supporting an infantry division. They were called Radio Research. People sat with headsets listening all day to radio, .and typing.. Then sent the info to another area where Chris was and it was keyed into machines to transmit and then sent down line to Saigon. Chris maintained and repaired the cryptographic equipment 12 hours on 12 hours off 7 days a week.
September 1968 Chris was wounded in a mordor attack, treated and then sent to Okinawa for a couple months recovery. From there Chris was sent to Bien Hoa, a huge base outside of Saigon. When he wasn’t working in the communications center or doing TDY for a couple months up country to 1st Calvary (Airmobile) or doing day trips out to fire bases Chris drove a truck making runs back and forth to Saigon in a convoy. After extending his time 6 months Chris left Vietnam February 1970 and was assigned to Bangkok Thailand. August 1970 Chris married his bride, Carolyn, while home on leave. Plans to take Carolyn back with him to Thailand were halted while on their honeymoon he received a telegram DO NOT RETURN WITH DEPENDENTS. Upon his return to Thailand the based soon closed and October 1970 Chris was heading back to the states, Ft. Riley Kansas with the Big Red 1 Infantry Division. Carolyn dropped out of Eastern Michigan University, taking a break fro m her studies to be a teacher, and in their little blue VW joined headed to Kansas joining Chris in October.
Upon discharge Chris and Carolyn returned to Ypsilanti, MI. By this time ,Chris had changed his course of study from engineering. While studying business he heard an accountant professor speak and decided to be a CPA. Carolyn taught part time and worked at National Bank of Detroit while Chris went to school full time and worked nights for the Post Office delivering “special delivery letters”. He says that and the GI Bill got him through school.
Chris worked with Arthur Anderson Co. 2-3 years and then a smaller firm in Ypsilanti for 8 years before being corporate controller for a couple of different companies. Around 1992-1993 Chris joined Heller Wexler, working with a guy he knew from EMU, and stayed until he retired May 30, 2013.
Chris joined GMACF when it first started. He was the first VP, and Isabelle Schultz was the first President. For the past 6 years Chris has served as the President of GMACF and will be retiring at the end of March.
Chris and Carolyn have 2 sons. Youngest son Nicolas and his wife with 4 children live in Plymouth and oldest son Erik and his wife with their 1 year old daughter live in Chicago.
Plans include caring for Carolyn’s mother and they hope to do more traveling, southwest and northwest. He says Carolyn does research and is a good planner.
Referring to being in the military and serving his country Chris said, “I’m glad I did it. After high school I needed some maturity and goodness knows I got maturity and discipline. People I served with were very dedicated, they worked hard, caring people, we worked together and took a lot of pride in our job. We had a mission, tried hard, worked hard. I think it had a lasting impact on me.”
Chris Wetzler ended his military duties as a E5, Specialist 5th Class. He received numerous awards and medals including Vietnam awards. His Purple Heart and Bronze Star for service are very special to him. The Milan Eagle honors you, Chris Wetzler, and thanks you for your service to our country.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login