Wendell E. Webber – Captain, United States Navy

From a contemporary press report:

Retired Naval Special Warfare Captain Wendell E. “Wendy” Webber, United States Navy, died while under Hospice care near his home in Jacksonville, Florida, on December 16, 2002.

After a distinguished career in Naval Special Warfare, he later retired from a post-Navy career with Seaward Marine Services. As a naval officer, “Wendy” Webber can easily be placed among the ranks as one of the premier leaders of the naval special warfare community.

He served in combat with Underwater Demolition Teams in Korea, and saw action again 15 years later as a SEAL Team officer in Vietnam. He commanded at every level of responsibility in the Navy, including command of Naval Special Warfare Group, Atlantic at Naval Air Base, Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia. He attended Navy Explosive Ordnance School in 1958 and served duty with EOD Unit ONE as Officer in Charge. He detached EOD duty and reported aboard the USS Monticello (LSD-35) as Operations Officer. After 19 months at sea, he returned in January 1962 to command UDT-11.

During the ensuing period, the Navy formally established Naval Operations Support Group staffs in the Atlantic and Pacific. In November 1963, he became the Chief Staff Officer and Deputy Commander of Naval Operations Support Group, Pacific. In August 1966, he deployed to Southeast Asia as Commander, Navy Research and Development Unit, Vietnam. During this period, he participated in a number of classified combat operations, and was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat “V” among several other awards.

His next assignment was Assault Force/Special Warfare Officer assigned to Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. In October 1969, he assumed duty as Commander, Naval Special Warfare Group, Atlantic, which included all Atlantic Fleet UDTs and SEAL Team, Boat Support Units, and Beach Jumper Units. From here he was transferred to the Navy staff in the Pentagon, where he spent his final two years in the Navy tirelessly developing the policy, doctrine, and operational requirements that would guide NSW for many years. For “outstanding initiative, judgment, and professionalism” while assigned to the Chief of Naval Operations staff, he was awarded the Legion of Merit. He retired from the Navy in June 1973.

He subsequently became President and CEO of a Seaward Marine Services, a major diving and salvage corporation conducting operations on an international scale. “Wendy” Webber was a lifetime member of UDT-SEAL Association and in June 1998 was awarded the Association's first “Lifetime Achievement Award.” In October 1999 he was awarded the U.S. Special Operations Command Medal, which recognized his significant pioneering contributions as the modern-day architect of Naval Special Warfare. His wife Jan; daughter Leslie of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, sister, Janice Neumann of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts; two grandchildren, and three nephews and nieces survive him.

A funeral service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery on January 21, 2003 at 1:00 p.m.

Friends may greet the family at a viewing to be held on January 20, 2002 between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m. at the Jefferson Funeral Home, 5755 Castlewellen Dr., Alexandria, VA. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to the Naval Special Warfare Foundation, P.O. Box 5365, Virginia Beach, VA 23471.

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