AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq --
The Marine Corps added a new major general to the ranks Nov. 3, 2009, as the deputy commanding general of Multi National Force - West pinned on his second star aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Maj. Gen. John E. Wissler was promoted by Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, the commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force, who was joined by Wissler's wife and daughter, and a handful of other Marines and friends via video teleconference from Wissler's home station, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Hejlik began with a brief synopsis of Wissler's career, followed by a few personal words about their friendship and families.
John, you've been a dear friend over the years, said Hejlik. Congratulations to you and [your wife]. We all know you couldn't do this without her. If it wasn't for [your wife] and the rest of the ladies here, we wouldn't be general officers, and frankly, we probably wouldn't have made it past first lieutenant.
After the promotion citation was read and Wissler raised his right hand to take the oath of office, Maj. Gen. R.T. Tryon, the commanding general of MNF-W, and Lance Cpl. Garrett Haynes, a junior enlisted Marine with MNF-W, pinned on Wissler's new rank.
Lance Cpl. Haynes had no idea he was going to do this before yesterday, Wissler explained. He represents every single Marine, officer or enlisted, that I served with over the course of my career. Every Marine, in some form or fashion, has made me a better Marine.
Then, Wissler took the floor to briefly thank a few special people in his life.
[Maj.] Gen. Tryon, sir, I can't thank you enough. You've taught me more about being a Marine Corps general officer than you�ll ever know, began Wissler. My wife, my best friend if there's applause, it should go to her and I do want to brag about my kids, because they've kept me grounded on a regular basis.
Wissler went on to thank his mother, father and sister.
My dad died in 2003 when I was here in Iraq. He told me one time that a man is forged by his family, is tempered by the institution, and he meant the Marine Corps, and he is toned by war. He was a World War II, Korea, Vietnam veteran, who served in combat on four separate occasions. He was definitely honed in war, Wissler said. I am very thankful for all, my mom and my sister continue to support me, to support the Marine Corps, and just to make it special to be a Marine.
As he concluded, Wissler took a moment to voice the significance of his promotion.
One of the biggest blessings I think being promoted to major general brings, is that I get a chance now, for at least four or five more years, to serve with great Marines, like the Marines that are in this room, like Lance Cpl. Haynes, and like all the Marines and Marine families that are back at Camp Lejeune.