By Hamil Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 29, 2009 9:21 PM
More than 500 men and women in uniform gathered at the D.C. Armory Monday night for a memorial service honoring the former commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who died in the Metro train crash last week.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.-Dem.) sparked laughter as she commented on the closeness of Maj. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr. and his wife, Ann. Both died June 29 aboard Metro's Red Line.
"They did just about everything together except command the D.C. National Guard," Norton told the crowd. Wherley and Ann, a former mortgage broker, would have celebrated their 40th anniversary in less than a month. Both were 62.
Along with several members of the city council, Norton praised Wherley for being active in the community. Among other things, Wherley has been praised for helping to create educational programs for high school dropouts.
"There is an emptiness tonight in our hearts for those of us who wear this uniform," said Craig McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau.
Senior Master Sgt. Lynne Morrison, who worked as a weather forecaster with Wherley, called him "a good commander. You could tell that he really cared about his folks."
Commissioned as an Air Force officer in 1969, Wherley rose to become a fighter pilot and commander of the 113th Fighter Wing at Andrews Air Force Base. He also gave the order to scramble planes over Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.
Washington Post staff writer Timothy Wilson contributed to this report.