Virgil H. Rizer – Colonel, United States Air Force


Local Military Hero Honored with 21-Gun Salute at National Cemetery

WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Dallas) today recognized Athens, Texas resident, the late Virgil H. Rizer, for a lifetime of sacrifice, dedication, and service to our nation.

Colonel Rizer was buried on Tuesday, May 16 at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, with a full honor service, 21-gun salute, and fly-over by the United States Air Force.

“Colonel Rizer was an extraordinary man with an unwavering commitment to his country. It is only fitting that he be laid to rest on America’s most hallowed ground,” said Sessions.

Originally from Augusta, Georgia, Rizer entered Army-Air Force pilot training mid-World War II, eventually flying B-29 Superfortresses at the end of the war.

His distinguished 30-year career in the Air Force included overseas tours in Europe, the Far East, and South America as well as combat tours in Korea and Vietnam. He retired having attained the rank of Colonel, and launched a second career with Boeing in Wichita, Kansas.

Upon retiring from Boeing, Rizer was active as an air space consultant, and continued to fly family and friends on personal planes up until last year. He moved to Athens in 1994 where he was an active citizen and a respected community leader.

Colonel Virgil H. Rizer is survived by his wife Frances (Fritzi), son and daughter-in-law Carlton and Carol Rizer, daughter and son-in-law Susan and Mark Huffman, and daughter and son-in-law Alicia and Scott Gardner along with grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and numerous friends and neighbors.

Congressman Sessions, who attended the memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery, remembered Rizer as “a fine American who inspired and touched the lives of everyone who knew him…a true gift to the Athens community. “He will be missed,” continued Sessions.

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