U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Alexander E. Wetherbee was killed in action Sept. 12 while serving in Anbar province in Iraq. Lt. Wetherbee, 27, was a platoon commander leading a unit from the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, near Fallujah.
He was born in Fairfax County into a Foreign Service family and lived in Ethiopia, India, Norway and Pakistan. He graduated from McLean High School in 1995 and was captain of the lacrosse team his senior year. He received an undergraduate degree in forest resources from the University of Idaho, where he was active in the outdoor and forest fire control programs. He graduated in 2001.
While in college, he attended recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, where he was platoon honorman and was promoted meritoriously to lance corporal. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Program (Marine Option) after his graduation from the University of Idaho.
Assigned to the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Lt. Wetherbee served in combat during the drive from Kuwait to Baghdad in March and April 2003. He was with his unit on a second deployment in Iraq when he was killed.
His awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with bronze service star and the National Defense Service Medal.
Lt. Wetherbee was an active outdoorsman. He enjoyed rock and ice climbing, kayaking, backpacking and other backcountry activities. When not in military training during summers at college, he worked as an Outward Bound instructor.
Survivors include his wife of four years, Heather Shade of Twentynine Palms, Calif.; his parents, Doris and Harry Wetherbee of McLean; his brother, Navy Lt. Donald G. Wetherbee of Virginia Beach; and his grandparents, Donald and Virginia Wetherbee of McLean.