The Electronic Security Association communicated the sad news today that one of its award-winning members, Col. Emil Wengel, passed away. Not only was he was an avid supporter and outstanding member of the Electronic Security Association, serving on the board of directors and as chairman of the government relations committee for many years, continuing his involvement on the committee until his death, but he also was awarded the Sara E. Jackson Memorial award in 1994 and the Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year award in 1995. He served as president of the Virginia Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (now the ESA-VA) for several terms and on the Virginia Private Security Services Advisory Board. He was a leader in the successful effort to bring alarm industry regulation to Virginia.
Col. Wengel was born in Oshkosh, Neb., on Oct. 14, 1921. In 1941, he received a bachelor's in graphics technology from the Wisconsin Art Academy, part of the University of Wisconsin. He joined the United States Air Force in 1943, where he had a long and celebrated career that included serving as the Air Force's public information officer, pilot for the commander, U.S. ambassador to Korea and the president of Korea, and military advisor to the assistant secretary of defense (public affairs). He also served as Department of Defense on-scene public affairs officer for Operation Homecoming, welcoming home returning POW fighter pilots from Vietnam. As such, he made eight trips to Hanoi and one to Hong Kong to receive the POWs. He retired from the Air Force in March 1974.
In 1967, he founded Wengel Electronics Inc., which sold telephone answering machines. After retiring from the Air Force, Col. Wengel expanded his business into security, choosing to keep his company small, acquiring new business only through word of mouth. He loved being involved in the security industry and the Electronic Security Association. He loved the travel and the challenge it presented.
He will be laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Va., on June 11 at 9:00 a.m.