MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- On a warm sunny afternoon, Marines, sailors, family and friends gathered to honor and bid farewell to Lt. Col. William D. Wischmeyer, executive officer, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, during a retirement ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 1, 2014.
“Lt. Col. Wischmeyer has done something very few Americans consider. He’s given of himself freely; sacrificing comfort, liberty, health, family and so much more for the greater good,” said Lt. Col. John R. O’Neal, commanding officer, 15th MEU. “No single page or volume can adequately capture the lasting impact Bill Wischmeyer has had on the Corps.”
Wischmeyer joined the 15th MEU in May 2011 as the operations officer. He held his billet throughout the unit’s Western Pacific 12-2 deployment. After returning, he was appointed as the unit’s executive officer in June 2013.
“I don’t think there has ever been a job where I was more relevant in what we’re doing, than what we’ve done in the past three years,” Wischmeyer said of his time with the 15th MEU. “I mean when you think about the work-ups and all the great things we did to get us ready to deploy. Then you deploy and you do all those wonderful things, but the relevance and the importance of what we did; I’m going to miss that.”
Marines who worked with him, said he will be remembered for his tenacious leadership and sense of humor.
“Lt. Col. Wischmeyer is one of the best officers I have had the privilege to work for. His leadership and guidance have made me a better officer,” said Capt. Johanna Ciezczak, force protection officer, 15th MEU. “The MEU would not have been as successful as it was on its last deployment without his experience, leadership and guidance. He will be truly missed.”
In his nearly 23 years of service, Wischmeyer says he’s enjoyed the people he’s met and worked with the most.
“I am going to absolutely miss the people,” Wischmeyer said as he reminisced on the many places he’s been in his career. “I have friends that go back to [Officer Candidates School] and my first fleet tour that I’ve been thinking about lately, and they’re all still very good friends. That’s what I’m going to miss the most.”
During the ceremony Wischmeyer was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his outstanding performance as the operations and executive officer while serving with the 15th MEU.
As the ceremony came to a close, Marines and family members were full of emotion and showered Wischmeyer with parting words, hugs and firm handshakes.
“I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do, with the exception of being a battalion commander, but I’m okay with that because I’ve always wanted to be a MEU [operations officer],” said Wischmeyer. “To all the Marines out there; enjoy what you’re doing when you’re doing it, because you never know where you’re going to end up or where you’re going to be.”