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Biography of  Vice Admiral Thomas R. (Tom) Weschler


Tom Weschler is from Erie, Pa. and he has kept his roots there for now some 89 years. His wife, Katrina Quinn Weschler, comes from there also (two houses away) and they never had to worry about whose town they were going to visit for Christmas! Tom knew what he was going to do with his life since the age of 9 when he began to comprehend what his brother, Charles, was doing at the US Naval Academy, class of 1932, preceded by his first cousin, Denys Knoll, class of 1930. Charles was a “star” man and Regimental subcommander at the Academy and became a ship constructor through a master’s program at MIT. When Tom graduated from the Academy in 1939 he told his brother that he could build the ships but Tom would fight them! Charles was lost as a POW in WWII. That first cousin, Denys, retired as a Rear Admiral, now deceased.


You can see that Tom had a lot to live up to and his motivation stayed high. First duty aircraft carrier, USS WASP CV-7 till sunk off Guadalcanal, 9/15/42/. Then destroyers through the end of the war, lots of amphibious support duty in the Pacific with 3rd, 5th and 7th Fleets. To MIT for a Masters degree in Missile Guidance which led to missile cruisers and the Polaris submarine program. Lucky enough to become Adm. Arleigh Burke’s aide for about three years. What a learning experience!  Korean War for a short time while in command of a DD, ending with a trip almost around the world. Graduated Naval War College and National War College. Saw Vietnam War coming and felt the need to be a part of it. Got command of an amphibious transport, then Ops Boss on PhibPac’s staff. Selected for Flag from there. Had the chance to conduct the only true amphibious raids on the Viet Cong before leaving sea duty to become the head of logistic support in Vietnam I Corps, called Commander Naval Support Activity Danang. Left there in 1967, worked to conceive and contract for the Spruance class destroyers with gas turbines and helos, and the Virginia Class cruisers, nuclear powered missile ships with Aegis potential. Ended up at sea as Commander Cruiser Destroyer Flotilla TWO and then Commander Cruiser  Destroyer Force Atlantic, and finally, back ashore, as three star, Director for Logistics, Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Since retirement in 1975 have taught some thirteen years full time or part time at the Naval War College, and also devoted myself to Community Service, particularly Tall Ships, which is the  reason I am here this evening. My wife and I are also trying to get more hands on like Meals on Wheels and soup kitchens. It’s a rich life and period we are living in if we can keep our perspective. Hope to keep on at useful activity.


Still happily married after 60 years to that wonderful Erie girl, with two fine children, a boy and a girl, both with families (five grandchildren), to help keep us young in spirit!

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Last modified: 01/29/09