Fort Benning community gathered to honor the life of Ret. Lt. Gen. Robert L. “Sam” Wetzel during ceremonies conducted at Fort Benning Main Post Cemetery on Jan. 28.
Wetzel was born in Clarksburg, W. Va., on Oct. 6, 1930, and retired after 34 years of dedicated service; he passed away on Jan. 20, 2022, surrounded by his loving family.
“Today we lost a mountain,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Donahoe, commanding general, Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning. “He fights in two wars, then comes out of that and helps the U.S. win the Cold War.”
Wetzel served two combat tours during his distinguished Army career, first as an Infantry platoon leader on the Korean Peninsula and then as commander of the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment “Polar Bears” in South Vietnam. He served as the commanding general of Fort Benning during the early 1980’s and eventually commanding the V Corps in Frankfurt.
“He spent a lot of time in Germany, commanding 50,000 troops with the V Corps, staring down the Soviet Union,” said Donahoe. “It’s his legacy as a multiple combat veteran and winning the Cold War which propels us to today.”
In retirement, Wetzel, and his wife Eilene continued their life of service, regularly attending meetings and ceremonies in their unwavering support of the Soldiers, Families, and civilians of Fort Benning, Columbus and the entire Chattahoochee River Valley.
"May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace," said U.S. Army Chaplain (Capt.) Mike Palmer.
For photos of the event, please visit https://fortbenning.smugmug.com/Ceremonies-and-Events/Historic-or-Significant-Events/Retired-LT-Gen-Wetzel-Funeral-Services/