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February 17, 2012 > William "Denny" Weisgerber

William "Denny" Weisgerber

Submitted By Jack d'Annibale, Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Mike Honda

William "Denny" Weisgerber, a Marine Corps veteran from Milpitas, former President of Milpitas Rotary Club, past District Governor of Rotary District 5170 and former Mayor of Milpitas, received an Honorary Promotion from Staff Sergeant to Gunnery Sergeant on January, 28, 2012 at a promotion ceremony at the Marine Corps Reserve Center/Navy Operational Support Center, 901 E. Mission Street, San Jose.

He served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps from February 1949 to May 1953. While serving his country in the Korean War, Weisgerber was severely wounded. He refused medical treatment and courageously moved forward to aid a wounded comrade where he fearlessly exposed himself to intense hostile fire. His wounds later resulted in the loss of his leg. In recognition of his bravery and valor, he was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart. Weisgerber was to be promoted from Staff Sergeant but was medically discharged because of the wounds he received in Korea, making him ineligible for promotion.

Denny is a living legend among Marines; he is only the second to receive an Honorary Promotion since the authority was changed under Title 10 in 2000. His promotion is long-overdue recognition of his outstanding efforts. He was promoted alongside family, friends, hundreds of Marines and Congressman Mike Honda. The only other Marine to receive an Honorary Promotion is renowned actor R. Lee Ermey.

Since April 2011, Honda has worked closely with the Marine Corps to promote Staff Sgt. Weisgerber to Gunnery Sergeant. Honda's request for honorary promotion was examined and approved by a special review board consisting of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, and the Secretary of the Navy, The Honorable Ray Mabus.

"Today, Gunnery Sergeant Weisgerber, at 81 years old, remains committed to the Marine Corps. He volunteers to help young Marines in the Bay Area find jobs, adjust to civilian life and receive military benefits once they leave the service. He continues to counsel generations of amputee veterans and other returning veterans at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital and the Menlo Park PTSD Center. It was my honor to request his Honorary Promotion," said Congressman Mike Honda.

Photo Caption: Congressman Mike Honda with Gunnery Sgt. William "Denny" Weisgerber

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