Why I Love Carter County- Andy Wetzel

Published 12:29 pm Thursday, January 13, 2022

Master Sergeant Andrew C. Wetzel III was born on July 14, 1970 in Elizabethton, Tenn. He grew up in Northeast Tennessee. After graduating from Elizabethton High School in 1989, he enrolled at East Tennessee State University. After two years at ETSU he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and attended boot camp in 1992 at Parris Island, S.C. After boot camp he attended Marine Combat Training & School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, N.C. After graduating from SOI, Master Sergeant Wetzel reported to Hotel Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines in Johnson City, Tenn. He completed his education at ETSU and received a Bachelor Degree in Education in 1995.

In 1995, Master Sergeant Wetzel was meritoriously promoted to Corporal and that same year he attended Jungle Warfare School at Fort Sherman, Panama as a squad leader. From 1996 to 1998 he served as a Platoon Sergeant/Commander for 1st Platoon Lima Co. 3/24. In 1998, Master Sergeant Wetzel attended Career Planners School in Quantico, Va., and served as Lima Co. Career Planner from 1998 to 2001. In 2000, he attended the Reserve Sergeants Course in Camp Crowder, Mo. From 2001 to 2004 Master Sergeant Wetzel was the Weapons Platoon Sergeant/Commander. During this time in 2003 he attended the Army Air Assault Course in Fort Campbell, Ky.

In January of 2004, Master Sergeant Wetzel was deployed to Iraq in support of OIF II in Al Asad, Iraq where he served as Weapons Platoon Commander for Lima Co. During this tour, Lima Co. conducted combat operations providing convoy security and perimeter security for Al Asad Air Base. He remained Weapons Platoon Commander until 2005. Master Sergeant Wetzel attended the Reserve Staff NCO Career Course in 2006. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Platoon Commander for 1st Platoon at Lima Co. In 2008, he attended the Reserve Staff NCO Advance Course and also in that year became the Company Gunnery Sergeant for Lima Co. 3/24.

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In May of 2009, Master Sergeant Wetzel was deployed to Iraq in support of OIF 09.2 in Al Asad, Iraq as Company Gunnery Sergeant for Lima Co. 3/24. During this tour, Lima Co. conducted combat operations providing convoy security for Al Asad Air Base. In 2011, Master Sergeant Wetzel participated in Operation Sea Breeze 11 in the Ukraine where he served as the Company Gunnery Sergeant. Master Sergeant Wetzel was promoted to his current rank in December 2012 and attended the E-8 Seminar in May of 2013.

In July of 2013, Master Sergeant Wetzel joined Reserve Affairs in Quantico, Va. He became a Reserve Transition Coordinator for the Reserve Transition and Retention Program (RTRP). As a Reserve Transition Coordinator, Master Sergeant Wetzel performed over 110 Reserve Opportunities and Obligation Briefs (ROOB), educating over 3,300 Marines and Sailors on the Reserves. He also assisted in joining over 500 Active Component Marines into the Reserve Component.

In July of 2018, Master Sergeant Wetzel joined the Deployment Processing Command East in Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he worked as the Reserve Transition Coordinator until his retirement on September 1, 2019.

His personal awards include The Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold stars in lieu of three awards, and The Combat Action Ribbon.

As a civilian, Master Sergeant Wetzel serves as a 23-year firefighter at Elizabethton Fire Department. His current position is Green Shift Battalion Chief. He also owns Stateline Drive-In Movie Theatre in Elizabethton, Tenn.

Master Sergeant Wetzel currently resides in Elizabethton, Tenn., with his wife of 28 years, Jenny Wetzel. They have three Marine sons, 2nd Lt. Drew Wetzel, Cpl. Ryan Wetzel (0311 Reserve), and LCpl. Nate Wetzel (0341 Reserve).

1. What do you think makes Carter County unique by comparison to other places? “Carter County is beautiful and unique because of our mountains and natural beauty. I have been all over the world and there is no place like Carter County!”
2. What is your favorite place to visit in Carter County? “My favorite place to visit is the War Memorial and Walk of Honor. The pride I feel is overwhelming when I am there. It is an honor to view all the great men and women of this county that have proudly served this great nation! And it is truly humbling to be able to pay respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice!”
3. Do you think living in Carter County has changed you in any way? “Yes, living here has given me true sense of community that you can’t find many other places. People are polite and always willing to help!”
4. What is your favorite time of year? “I enjoy the summer here. With the mountains and the lake and the rivers there is always something to do!”
5. If you were to meet someone planning a visit to the Carter County area for the first time, what places would you tell him or her not to miss? “Anyone coming here needs to spend some time here. It is impossible to see it all in a couple of days. I would recommend they start at Sycamore Shoals and make their way to Roan Mountain. Also making sure they catch a movie at the Stateline Drive-In Theater!”