MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The hallway in front of the conference room was crowded with guests telling stories of a friend, father, husband and Marine. Everyone patiently waited for the ceremony to begin.
Lt. Gen. Keith Stalder, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, and Vivianne Wersel dedicated the II MEF conference room here Nov. 7, to Vivianne’s late husband Lt. Col. Richard M. Wersel Jr.
Wersel died suddenly of heart failure here Feb. 4, 2005, after serving two tours in Iraq.
The ceremony honored the fallen Marine and would have made him proud, said Vivianne.
“He wanted to be a Marine since he was 13-years old,” she said. “His honor and dedication to the Marine Corps was beyond belief. He never said no to an assignment. He always put everything he had into it and did a phenomenal job.”
Vivianne and her children stood in front of the crowd as Stalder began the ceremony with a speech about Wersel’s character.
“I unfortunately did not get to meet Rich, but I can tell you in the wind up to this event people would tell me a little something about him,” Stalder said. “I just hope that someday when I am gone folks think half as much of me as they do Rich.”
After Stalder’s speech, he and Vivianne unveiled a plaque with Wersel’s picture. She then spoke of all the support she received from the Marine Corps after her husband’s unexpected death at the age of 43.
“The Marine Corps was great,” Vivianne said. “I grew up in a military family so I don’t really have a hometown. Family is where we are and the Marine Corps is now our family.”
She also spoke of how much she appreciated the dedication ceremony, since she does not remember anything about the memorial service.
“This was nice,” Vivianne said. “It was nice to hear all of the good things everyone had to say about him. It was cathartic and touching at the same time.”