Wetherell's career in media relations spans six years of service with the U.S. Navy and 14 years in the Coast Guard.
During his Navy stint, Wetherell captured video and photographs of the Beirut conflict in 1983 as a journalist aboard the destroyer Tattnall. He later served as an entertainment and news broadcaster in Naples, Italy with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.
As a Coast Guard spokesman and photojournalist, Wetherell frequently topped headline news. In 1991, following a coup that toppled Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide, Wetherell gathered video and photos of fleeing Haitian migrants on the high seas. One such photo appeared on the front page of the New York Times.
Wetherell was also a spokesman for law enforcement, oil spill and search-and-rescue operations including the TWA 800 crash off Long Island, N.Y., Rhode Island's largest oil spill and the sinking of the fishing vessel Arctic Rose that claimed 15 lives in one of the worst maritime accidents in U.S. history. In December 2004, Wetherell established a joint information center in Anchorage following the cargo ship Selendang Ayu disaster off the Aleutian Islands. The incident attracted worldwide media attention.