Wayne Downing

He wore 4 Stars, Commanded the Joint Special Operations Command, an Elite Organization of Delta Force, Navy Seals, Army Rangers, and Special Forces, that for years the Pentgon refused to acknowledge its existence.


PEORIA, ILLINIOIS

International Airport

Mike Grebe and Wayne headed to West Point – July 1958

Cadet Days


Wayne was not always serious

Harry and Wayne against our Citroen on a Paris Street

In July of 1960 Wayne, Harry and Phil spent 30 days with the 187 Airborne Battle Group at Fort Bragg. Can not remember who had the idea, but we went to Mcguire AFB in August to catch a ride to Europe. There were several stops going over, one of which was in Ireland where we had a glass of Irish Coffee at 4 in the morning. Harry and Wayne discussed the failure of the French during World War I – note it was to lay a seed in Harry’s mind which he was to remember.

We finally arrived in Paris and went out that night – somehow we got seperated. The next morning when Wayne and I awoke we found each other we could not find Harry. He arrived at the hotel mid-morning with a bandage and a bump on his head.

Harry had remembered Wayne’s history lesson and finding himself in a Communist Quarter bar had tried to rally the French Cowards to follow him to the Western Front in an effort to save Paris from the Attacking Hun.

Harry had to discuss his actions with the Gendarmerie, but first they administered a crack to the head. Harry was passed on to the Military Police resulting in his having to report to Versailles Hqs each day. Wayne and I waited over looking the Gardens at the Versailles Palace.

We were asked to leave Paris and not come back

The weather was bad so we could not climb – we climbed a ridge south of town.

Harry and his Guide

Wayne, Harry and Harry’s Guide, as we rest. The corrective action taken by the Gendarmerie can be seen on the back of Harry’s head.

The walk with the sheer climb in the haze – Harry kept throwing rocks over the side – but we could never hear them hit. Must have been the fog that drowned out the noise.

The next day we look at the Matterhorn as we ready to leave Zermatt

Two of our Classmates near the end of their Military Careers – One Army Chief of Staff, the other Commander of The Joint Special Operations Command.

Surrounded by Classmates and Friends & Family — Wayne is Escorted to his Final Resting Place.

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