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First Name: Emery

Last Name: Wetzel

Birthplace: Billings, MT, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Scott

Date of Birth: 21 October 1907

Date of Death: 04 May 1988

Rank: Lieutenant General

Years Served: 1929 - 1961
Emery Scott Wetzel

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Emery Scott "Pinky" Wetzel
Lieutenant General, U.S. Air Force

Emery Scott Wetzel was born on 21 October 1907 in Billings, MT. He graduated from Billings High School in 1925. On 13 June 1929 - just before the start of the Great Depression - Wetzel graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Field Artillery in the U.S. Army. During his time at the Academy, Wetzel managed to acquire the nickname 'Pinky.' (He was given the moniker because of his pink cheeks.)

The future was uncertain for Pinky's class. In an initial pep talk to the plebe class in 1925, the Master of the Sword had predicted that some of the class might get to be colonels before retirement. He went on to say that despite the slowness of promotion and inadequate pay, a military career was the road to high adventure. Pinky Wetzel took him at his word and considered his entire military career a great adventure.

Lieutenant Wetzel's first operational assignment was as Assistant Operations and Statistical Officer in the 11th Bombardment Squadron at Rockwell AFB, CA. In 1931, he saw service at March Field, CA, with the Seventh Bombardment Group and later became Adjutant of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the March Field District under Lieutenant Colonel H.H. Arnold.

Captain Wetzel joined the 72d Bombardment Squadron in 1935 at Luke Field, HI. Later, he became Flight Commander of the 50th Observation Squadron at Luke. Pinky left Hawaii in 1937 to become Operations and Intelligence Officer and Flight Commander of the First Bombardment Squadron (Medium) at Mitchel Field, NY.

Wetzel was a student in a 12-week course at the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, AL, in 1940. After graduation, Pinky instructed Air Corps Reserve units at Second Military Area Headquarters, Allegheny County Airport, Pittsburgh, PA. In March 1941, Major Wetzel was assigned to duty as Assistant Chief of the Officer's Section, then as Executive Officer, Enlisted Section, Military Personnel Division, Office of the Chief of the Air Corps, Washington, DC. A year later Wetzel, now a Colonel and Command Pilot, became Chief of the Division.

In early 1945, Brigadier General Wetzel became Chief of the Personnel Group, Personnel (G-1) Division, War Department General Staff in Washington. Six months later, he arrived at Harmon Field, Guam, where he first served as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel (A-1), and then as Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel (A-1), U.S. Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific. He then served as Chief of the Allied Liaison Section and Acting Deputy Chief of Staff of the Eighth Air Force, Okinawa. Wetzel was at dinner on Okinawa with Lieutenant General "Jimmy" Doolittle when news of Japan's surrender was announced. In these assignments, he added an oak leaf cluster to his Legion of Merit, again for outstanding service in contributing to the defeat of Japan. In addition, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his participation in the air offensive against Japan.

With the inactivation in December 1945 of this command, Wetzel became Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel (A-1), Pacific Air Command, U.S. Army (PACUSA), with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. When this command was re-designated the Far East Air Forces (FEAF), he continued in the same capacity through 1947.

In July 1948, Wetzel became Chief of Staff of the Fifteenth Air Force, Colorado Springs, CO. A year later, he moved with the headquarters to March AFB, CA. In the spring of 1950, he became Deputy Commander, Fifteenth Air Force. Pinky Wetzel was promoted to Major General in December 1950. Early the following year, Wetzel returned to the Pentagon as the "number two" Air Force Personnel Chief with his assignment as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington. He served in that assignment until 1954.

Major General Wetzel's next assignment, in May 1954, was as Commander of the Atlantic Division, Military Air Transport Service (MATS) - the equivalent of a numbered Air Force - then located at Westover AFB, MA. MATS, which later moved to McGuire AFB, NJ, operated more than 200 medium and heavy transport aircraft carrying passengers and cargo hourly, around-the-clock to Europe, Great Britain, North Africa, South America, and to the "top of the world," Thule AFB, Greenland. Under Wetzel's command, from 1954-57, a total of 5,000 round trips to the Arctic and 25,000 trips across the Atlantic were made without a passenger fatality, while transporting thousands of personnel and tons of cargo. The MATS command had a peacetime mission of maintaining and exercising a fleet, in support of Strategic Air Command and other defense forces and government agencies, while training for a wartime mission. For his service in this assignment, he received a second oak leaf cluster to his Legion of Merit.

From 1957-59, Wetzel served as Vice Commander of the Pacific Air Forces at Hickam AFB, HI. Here, Wetzel operated an major Air Force command whose tactical and defensive operations extended from Hawaii across the vast Pacific and as far West as Burma and included the Fifth and Thirteenth Air Forces with bases in Japan, Philippines, Okinawa, Formosa and South Korea.

On 1 September 1959, Wetzel became Chief of Staff, United Nations Command, Korea, in Seoul, South Korea, with additional duty as Chief of Staff, U.S. Forces in Korea. He remained in this assignment until he retired from the Air Force in 1961.


During his 'great adventure' of a career, Pinky also managed to marry his Academy sweetheart, Catharine, and to have two sons who graduated from West Point; Emery Scott, Jr., Class of '54 (Honoree Record ID 3309) and Tony, Class of '56.


Lieutenant General Emery Scott Wetzel died on 4 May 1988. His burial location is unknown.

Origin of Nickname/Handle:
During his time at the Academy, Wetzel managed to acquire the nickname 'Pinky.' (He was given the moniker because of his pink cheeks.)

Honoree ID: 3310   Created by: MHOH




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