Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9934 salutes new lieutenant colonel

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Joseph Snyder administers the oath of enlistment during Lt. Col. Richard Viczorek’s promotion ceremony from major. Photo by Andrea Papagianis
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Joseph Snyder administers the oath of enlistment during Lt. Col. Richard Viczorek’s promotion ceremony from major. Photo by Andrea Papagianis

By Andrea Papagianis

Each man and woman who serves in the military travels their own route to service.

Whether it is straight out of high school, during a draft, following in a father’s footsteps or following their own calling, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9934 have seen it all.

On April 8, the post honored their own, one with a unique path, in witnessing and saluting his accomplishment of being promoted to the U.S. Marine Corps’ rank of lieutenant colonel. Surrounded by family and fellow veterans of the Iraq War, and those from Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea, Lt. Col. Richard Viczorek took the oath of enlistment, rising from his rank of major.

“These people warm my heart and get me up in the morning.”–Lt. Col. Richard Viczorek

Lt. Col. Richard Viczorek thanks members of VFW Post 9934 for their support. Also pictured, post commander Maurice Hansen and Viczorek’s 1-year-old son Jack. Photo by Andrea Papagianis
Lt. Col. Richard Viczorek thanks members of VFW Post 9934 for their support. Also pictured, post commander Maurice Hansen and Viczorek’s 1-year-old son Jack. Photo by Andrea Papagianis

The oath was presided over by retired Col. Joseph Snyder, marking the first time the post has promoted a member of their ranks.

Viczorek, who lives in Dana Point with his wife Sarah, and sons Bobby and Jack, is a practicing appellate lawyer. Originally from Northern California, he graduated from UCLA and went on to obtain a law degree from Santa Clara University. At 29, Viczorek entered officer training school.

From Quantico, Va. to the Washington Navy Yard and Twentynine Palms to the Anbar Province of Iraq, Viczorek has built his military reserves career around the law, serving as both defense and prosecuting counsel before moving into an appellate court role.

When he deployed to Iraq in 2010, Viczorek’s unit helped Iraqis implement the rule of law and set up the legal system. He educated Marines on the rules of warfare and served as legal counsel to the commanding officers. The deployment was a successful one; something Viczorek says should be credited to the enlisted Marines who performed heroic acts.

The Viczorek family moved to town in 2012, with plans to stay for the long haul, as Richard and Sarah will welcome their third child in the coming months. Viczorek, called “Rick” by his comrades, joined the VFW to be around other service-minded people.

“This is a permanent station for me,” Viczorek said. “These people warm my heart and get me up in the morning.”

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