The passing of Lt. Col. Mark Weber

Posted June 16, 2013

On June 14, 2012, Lt. Col. Mark Weber delivered the Army Birthday address at the Minnesota History Center in Saint Paul. He concluded by singing a duet with his oldest son, Matthew. They chose a Civil War era song called “Tell my Father” in honor of Father’s Day. Hardly evident by his appearance or demeanor, Weber was battling terminal cancer.

Sadly, last Thursday, exactly one year after his inspirational address, Lt. Col. Weber passed away. This Father’s Day, we remember and honor him as a man who embodied the Got Your 6 message not only as a veteran, but as a father, husband, and American citizen.

Weber had served on active duty in the U.S. Army for 18 years when he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in 2010. He was told he had just four months to live. But, against unimaginable odds, Weber turned his stark four-month prognosis into three years of continued work, service, and leadership.

In 2012, the Army insisted Weber take full-time medical leave. Instead, he completed a Mission Continues Fellowship at Outward Bound, where he provided mentorship to at-risk youth and other transitioning veterans. By doing so, he not only continued his own service, but he coached other veterans on how to continue theirs.

After his fellowship, Weber continued to serve with the Mission Continues by speaking at pre-fellowship orientations across the country and inspiring hundreds of other veterans to overcome whatever unique challenges they face. His message spans beyond the uniform though, because he preserved it in a book written for his three sons. In “Tell My Sons: A Father’s Last Letters,” Weber shares what he learned about service and leadership, and stresses the power of actions over words.

Weber exemplifies how veterans can be leaders and assets in any situation and under any circumstance. His life should be an inspiration to veterans and civilians alike. Just weeks before his death, at a Memorial Day Ceremony at Ft. Shelling National Cemetery, Weber addressed a crowd and offered advice that seems even more poignant now: “You want to honor the fallen? Then challenge yourself to be a good citizen…Say ‘thank you’ with your actions.”