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First Name: Emery

Last Name: Wetzel

Birthplace: Coronado, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Scott

Date of Birth: 28 May 1931

Date of Death: 26 April 2003

Rank: Colonel

Years Served: 1954 - 1984
Emery Scott Wetzel, Jr.

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Emery Scott Wetzel, Jr.
Colonel, U.S. Air Force

Emery Scott Wetzel, Jr. was born on 28 May 1931 in Coronado, CA. He was the first son of Emery and Catharine Wetzel. At the time of his birth, Scott's father was a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps (USMA '29), flying bombers out of Rockwell Field in Coronado, CA. (He retired as an Air Force Lieutenant General, Honoree Record ID 3310.) As an Air Force brat, Scott and his family was constantly moving to his father's different duty stations. After WWII, the family moved to Tokyo, Japan.

Now a teenager, Scott was an outstanding basketball player at the Tokyo American School. As a sophomore, Scott was voted Most Athletic, Most Versatile, Best Sense of Humor, and Laziest. As a junior, he was class president, student council treasurer, teen club vice president, and was on the athletic committee. He also played football and baseball. In 1948, the family moved to Colorado Springs, CO, where Scott attended Colorado Springs High School. He went out for football, but suffered a knee injury. Unfortunately, surgery didn't repair Scott's knee enough to allow him to continue participating in athletics. After graduation from high school, he attended Sullivan's Prep School in Washington, DC.

Scott entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1950. Although he battled with both the Academic and Tactical departments, his sense of humor got him through the tough times. Scott's "claim to fame" at the Academy was his participation in stealing the Navy's goat mascot. Upon graduating from West Point with the Class of 1954, Scott chose to be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

He started primary pilot school at Hondo AFB, TX, before going to Greenville AFB, MS, for basic training. After getting his wings, he remained at Greenville as an Instructor Pilot in the T-33. Next, Scott was selected to be an Air Training Officer for the first class of the new U.S. Air Force Academy. In effect, he and his fellow officers acted as upperclassmen to the new Air Force plebes. While the academy complex was under construction, he was stationed at Lowry AFB, CO.

After a tour flying the RF-101 at Shaw AFB, SC, Scott did a tour flying the RF-101 in France. His next assignment was a Flying Safety job at Williams AFB, AZ. There he married Pat Suzdaleff, which his family said was the best decision of his life. Air Command and Staff School and F-4 School were his next assignments. Scott then did a Southwest Asia tour flying F-4 Phantom's out of Ubon, Thailand. He flew 217 combat missions over Vietnam with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing.

Scott served on the Inspector General team at USAF, Europe, followed by a tour as the Squadron Commander of RF-4Cs at Alconbury, England. He then had a tour in the Pentagon with the Joint Staff and went back to Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, Europe, as Director of Reconnaissance. In 1977, he returned to Alconbury as the Vice Wing Commander of the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (TRW). In 1978, he became Wing Commander of the 50th TRW at Hahn AFB, Germany. In 1980, Scott was assigned to Headquarters, Tactical Air Command, as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans. In his last assignment, in 1983, he was Deputy Chief of Staff for Staff Programs and Resources at Headquarters, Tactical Fighter Weapons Center, Nellis AFB, NV.

Colonel Emery Scott Wetzel, Jr. retired from the Air Force in 1984 after 30 years of active duty.

Medals, Awards and Badge

Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal (16 Awards)
Air Force Commendation Medal
Command Pilot Badge

In Retirement

Scott and his family chose to continue living in Las Vegas. He didn't stay idle for long and went to work as a stock broker with EF Hutton for two years. He then became General Manager of Las Vegas People Mover, a German project to build a magnetic levitation train from downtown Las Vegas to the airport. After a year, the Germans decided to quit, as the city politicians could not come to an agreement on the project.

Next, Scott became the Campus Director of the Century School. He was president of Silver Eagle Enterprises and Clever Communications and very active in the Las Vegas and Nellis AFB communities. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Nevada Federal Credit Union and served twice as chairman of the board. He was a member of the National Board of Directors of the Air Force Association; at various times, he also served as Local, State, and Regional President. He was a charter member of the Nellis Support Team. He belonged to the National Congress on Aviation and Space Education, the Retired Officers' Association, Order of Daedalians, Quiet Birdmen, and the Las Vegas Rotary. Despite all these activities, Scott still had time for golf, crossword puzzles, and sports - he was a huge fan of UNLV basketball.

Scott spent his entire life associated in some way with the Air Force. He was born an Air Force brat; joined the Air Force Reserves as a clean-sleeve Airman; spent 30 years on active duty; and then stayed active with the Nellis AFB community for the rest of his life.


Colonel Emery Scott Wetzel, Jr. died on 26 April 2003. He was cremated and his ashes given to family.

A memorial service for Scott was held at the Nellis AFB Chapel on 16 May 2003 and over 400 people attended.

Scott is survived by his wife of 40 years, Patricia "Suzdaleff" Wetzel, of Las Vegas; their three daughters, Holly Jones of Stafford, VA; Merry Judd and Carol Wetzel, both of Las Vegas; brother, Tony Wetzel, USMA Class of '56, of Coronado, CA; and three grandchildren, Brooke, Mara, and Matthew.

Scott was many things and lived a very full and meaningful life. But, at age 71, his family and friends feel he was taken from them far too soon.

Honoree ID: 3309   Created by: MHOH




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