24096-1962 memorial-photo

Wayne A. Downing-Wayne was born in Peoria, IL in 1940.  He and his two  sisters were raised by his mother after his father was killed in World War II.  As the son of a deceased veteran, Wayne was able to qualify for a Presidential Appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point, NY.  Entering the Academy in 1958, he graduated in 1962 as a 2d Lt in the Infantry.  Ranger and Airborne school followed prior to Wayne being assigned as a Platoon Leader in the 173d Airborne Brigade in Okinawa.  This unit became the first unit to be deployed to Viet Nam. He later served a second tour in Viet Nam with the 25th Infantry Division.  He joined the 1st Ranger Battalion in 1975 and went on to command the 2d Ranger Battalion, 1977-79.  In 1984, Wayne was chosen to form and lead the 75th Ranger Regiment thus becoming “The Father of modern Rangers”.  After commanding the Ranger regiment, he had several assignments in  the special operation arena.  In 1989. he became the Commanding General of The Joint Special Operations Command in Ft Bragg, NC.  This led to his next position as the Commanding General , U.S. Army Special Operations Command and ultimately, in 1993, he was named the Commander In Chief (CINC) of the U.S. Special Operation Command.  He retired from the Army in 1996, after over 34 years of service.   Post 9/11, Wayne returned to duty to coordinate the national campaign ” to detect, disrupt, and destroy global terrorist organizations and those who support them”.  In this capacity, he held the titles of National Director and Deputy National Security Advisor. with his office in the White House.  His awards and decorations are many but the award for which he was most proud  was his designation as a Distinguished Graduate of the US Military Academy.  General Downing passed away in July of 2007.  Few men have given so much to their country as General Wayne A. Downing.  The country misses him, as do his soldiers, his family and his friends and classmates.