CLEARWATER. Fla. -- LCDR Richard T. Weltz has retired from the U.S. Navy. He is the son of Phyllis Weltz and the late Hans Weltz of Bellows Falls, Vt.

During his career, he has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as numerous other areas of conflict in Africa, the Balkans, and in the Middle East. He is the recipient of the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in combat. He has served three decades in the Navy as both an enlisted EOD operator and then as a Special Operations Officer (EOD).

His final tour of duty was at the United States Special Operations Command, where he was a member of the Command Parachute team "Paracommandos." Commander Weltz was medically retired in November 2013 after a training accident. He currently serves as the Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, JFK Chapter 1963, in Dunedin, and on Congressman David Jolly’s (Congressional District 13) Veterans Advisory Board. In addition, he volunteers his time at the St. Petersburg, Va., Regional Medical Center, as well as the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor. He and his family reside in Clearwater.