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May 23, 2013A Man of Honor – Gary Wetzel
Gary Wetzel is a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, awarded for valor, the highest honor a soldier can receive. He received the commendation after his heroism during the Vietnam War. His story is unbelievable and makes you wonder, “How could anyone do that?!”
After losing his left arm and suffering life-threatening wounds to his right arm, chest, and left leg, Wetzel staggered back to his gun-well and eliminated enemy automatic weapon fire, saving the lives of countless Americans. After eradicating enemy gun fire, Wetzel stumbled over to his injured aircraft commander and helped drag him to safety, passing out twice during the task due to a loss of blood.
Nowadays, Wetzel is an advocate for his fellow veterans, fallen heroes, and the POW/MIA. Since 1989, he has been involved with Rolling Thunder, the annual POW/MIA awareness parade in Washington D.C. held on Memorial Day Weekend. Wetzel has been the lead bike in 16 of the last 22 rides. At home, Wetzel is a heavy machine operator. When he’s not working or on a ride, Wetzel spends many of his weekends on the road advocating for veterans. He asks only for his travel expenses to be paid for when attending speaking engagements and appearances.
He takes these rides on “Ruby,” his 1993 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Classic that has nearly 140,000 miles on it and is not modified to accommodate his prosthetic arm. Wetzel says he designed his arm to be able to pull his clutch in and out and take off. He gets a kick out of people asking him at red-lights, “How are you riding that bike?”
He says, “Me and God.”
Do you have a veteran rider in your family or riding group? Do you have a story about a fallen hero you want to share this Memorial Day? Tell us about your special soldier on the Eagle Leather Facebook Page.We honor and remember the sacrifices of those who serve and protect our freedom. Thank you.