County Executive Chris Abele
Press Release

Milwaukee County Unveils Street Sign for Medal of Honor Recipient Gary Wetzel

Wetzel was a door gunner for the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company when his helicopter was shot down in Vietnam on January 8, 1968.

By - Mar 23rd, 2015 02:29 pm

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele will formally unveil a street sign and stone marker at noon on March 25th in honor of Gary Wetzel, one of only 79 living Medal of Honor recipients. As part of the unveiling, County Executive Abele will also honorarily rename the section of Mason Street near the War Memorial Center, Gary G Wetzel Medal of Honor Way.

Wetzel was a door gunner for the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company when his helicopter was shot down in Vietnam on January 8, 1968. During the ensuing fight, Wetzel’s left arm was badly damaged and he received serious injuries to his right arm, chest, and left leg. Despite the life-threatening injuries, Wetzel continued fighting and helped hold off the enemy until they could be rescued. His heroic actions were credited with saving numerous lives. Because of the injuries he received, Wetzel’s left arm was amputated. He was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon Johnson on November 19, 1968.

“I could not be more proud to recognize Gary, he is a hero in the truest sense of the word. Not only did he save numerous lives in Vietnam, he has spent the past few years doing volunteer work to brighten the lives of people across our community,” County Executive Abele said. “I know Gary joins me in saying this honor is as much for all the brave men and women who put their lives in harm’s way to protect us as it is for him.”

Wetzel currently lives in South Milwaukee. He was named the 2014 Milwaukee County Veteran of the Year and was the first recipient of the Milwaukee County Purple Heart Pass.

**Unveiling Ceremony**
Who: Gary Wetzel, County Executive Abele, Mayor Tom Barrett, Wisconsin National Guard Major General Donald Dunbar, and Milwaukee County Veterans Service Officer Jim Duff
When:  Noon – March 25, 2015
Where:  War Memorial Center

The ceremony is free and open to the public. Free parking will be available in the O’Donnell Parking Structure for those attending the event.

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