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After more than 40 years of service to the U.S. Army, Jim Weise is retiring at the end of December from his position as a civilian attorney assigned to the Recruiting Command.
Weise, 65, of Elizabethtown first entered the Army in 1969 when he entered infantry officer command school. He was commissioned into the medical service corps in 1970.
On Friday, the retired lieutenant colonel was honored in a retirement ceremony for his 43 years of service.
“I came to work on my 65th birthday and that day I knew it was time to hang it up,” he said about his decision to retire.
Over the years, Weise served in a variety of positions — as both prosecutor and defense counsel — at several locations, he said, including stints in Washington, D.C. and in Germany.
He was appointed to chief of military justice in Germany, where Weise said he and his staff tried 12 cases a week, covering “everything from murder on down.”
Weise estimates he has defended, prosecuted or assisted on 1,000 cases at the trial level with most of his work being done at the appellate level.
Asked to recall some of his cases, Weise remembered one in particular regarding a soldier who stole his roommate’s checkbook.
“He goes from his barracks to the bank on post,” he said. “He walks in and the lady behind the counter says, ‘Sir, you forgot to sign your check.’ Given the choice between Bob and Mary, he signs Mary.”
Another Weise called “a good news case” involved a kidnapping of a 5-year-old boy, he said. The child eventually was reunited with his mother when he was almost 13.
It wasn’t until 1985 Weise was stationed at Fort Knox where he was the chief of criminal law at the time, and he and his family moved to Elizabethtown, he said.
By 1989, they moved again to Illinois, he said. However, when Weise began to consider retirement, he thought of Elizabethtown.
“When I got promoted in Fort Sheridan in 1989 to lieutenant colonel, a bunch of our friends from E’town came up to Fort Sheridan to my party,” Weise said. “They all said, ‘You’ve got to come up to E’town.’”
“Our heart strings are here,” he added. “Our friends are here.”
In 1994, he returned to Fort Knox as the deputy staff judge advocate at the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. Three years later, he retired from the Army but continued to work as chief of administrative, civil and recruiting law.
At Recruitment Command, he said his job has been to provide legal advice to the entire command.
In addition to his serve at Fort Knox, Weise has been an active member of the Hardin County community.
He previously served as chairman of the Hardin County Republican Party, president of the Kentucky Food Bank and president of the Elizabethtown Lions Club.
Asked about his retirement plans, Weise said he and his wife of 42 years, Debbie, plan to visit their grandchildren in Virginia and New Zealand.
With his passion for politics, Weise added he also may enter the political arena depending whether his family approves of the decision.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.