Sgt. Dennis P. Weichel 1982-2012

This morning I attended the funeral of Sgt. Dennis P. Weichel.

The Rhode Island National Guardsman lost his life on March 22 beneath the sandy wheels of an armored personnel carrier as the father of three sacrificed himself to save an Afghan child from the path of the 16-ton machine.

These are the deeds of a hero.

When we tell this story we need to get it right and as Scotty likes to remind me, “If we get the small stuff wrong (accidently putting street instead of avenue for instance,) then we loose our credibility on the big stuff”

Either way this is not small stuff so I am disappointed and confused as to why the Army’s press release (and many news sites) had Weichel saving a little girl yet Projo, RIPR, WBUR, Boston Herald, NYTimes all have Weichel rescuing a boy named Zaiullah.

Finally, a word of advice to certain photographers at Swan Point Cemetery this A.M.: Unlike giving ones life so that a child may live, wearing slacks and a tie instead of jeans to a military funeral is not “above and beyond the call of duty”… its just a small way to show respect to the memory of a man who earned it.



6 Responses to “Sgt. Dennis P. Weichel 1982-2012”

  1. Well said, Ryan. Nice picture too. Who were you there for?

    • Thanks Christine,

      I guess the short answer is I didn’t have a client. I missed a Times job having to do with this story at the airport on Saturday (because my phone hadn’t charged over night. I went straight to AT&T and they’re sending me a new one but that’s a different story.) I shot and sent this to them just as a matter of good faith. I don’t expect them to run it but my hope is that I’ll get some points for sticking with the story. I sent it to Jim and Arthur too just in case and I donated a picture to Rhode Island Public Radio. There weren’t any other still news shooters at the chapel either and the R.I.N.G. communications officer wanted me to be the AP pool shooter until the reporter called Bill and found out they’d sent Stew ahead to the cemetery.

  2. Thanks Ryan. I got the call late this morning, 9:45am, to head to the cemetery. I had a doctor’s appointment first, but he got me out in time to head home, change into funeral appropriate attire and grab all my gear. It was windy and a bit cold at the cemetery. I did manage to get a few real nice pix. I think I saw the two other photogs you were speaking of, not knowing how to properly dress. The photo of his son standing went to the casket went AP Top Pix.

  3. That was a nice photoblog post MSN did. BIG photos. Here are a few more on my blog,

  4. Very respectful tribute,Ryan. You do really good work.

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