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First Name: Wayne

Last Name: Downing

Birthplace: Peoria, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Allan

Date of Birth: 10 May 1940

Date of Death: 18 July 2007

Rank: General

Years Served: 1962-1996
Wayne Allan Downing

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1962

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
•  Gulf War (1990 - 1991)


Wayne Allan Downing
General, U.S. Army

Wayne Allan Downing was born on 10 May 1940 in Peoria, IL. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1962 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. Downing's West Point ring was severely damaged in an anti-personnel mine explosion while he served in Vietnam. A soldier serving under his command replaced the stone with Chrysocolla, a copper mineral. General Downing wore that very same ring until at least 1995.

Downing also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Tulane University in 1972.

Military Service

Sep 62 - Feb 63 Student, Infantry Officer Basic and Ranger Course

Apr 63 - Jun 64 Platoon Leader, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate)

Jun 64 - Sep 64 Liaison Officer, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Separate)

Dec 64 - Oct 65 Aide-de-Camp to the Commanding General, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vietnam

Oct 65 - Apr 66 S-2/S-5 (Intel/Civil Affairs) Officer, 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vietnam

Apr 66 - Aug 67 Instructor, Infantry School, Fort Benning, GA

Aug 67 - Jan 68 Company Commander, Infantry Training Center, Fort Benning, GA

Jan 68 - Sep 68 Student, Infantry Officer Advance Course, Infantry School, Fort Benning, GA

Sep 68 - Dec 68 Company Commander, 25th Infantry Division, Vietnam

Dec 68 - Sep 69 Battalion S-3 (Operations) Officer, 25th Infantry Division, Vietnam

Sep 69 - Oct 69 Brigade S-3 (Operations) Officer, 25th Infantry Division, Vietnam

Dec 69 - Jan 72 Graduate Student, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Feb 72 - Jun 72 Student, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA

Jun 72 - Feb 75 Senior Operations / Systems Analyst, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.

Mar 75 - Dec 76 Battalion S-3 Officer / Executive Officer, 75th Infantry (Ranger), Fort Stewart, GA

Dec 76 - Mar 77 Commander, Task Force (Alaska), 24th Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, GA

May 77 - Jul 79 Commander, 2nd Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry, Fort Lewis, WA

Aug 79 - May 80 Student, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL

Jun 80 - Apr 82 Secretary to Joint Staff, European Command, Vaihingen, Germany

May 82 - Apr 84 Commander, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, U.S. Army Europe, Germany

May 84 - Nov 85 Commander, 75th Infantry Regiment (Ranger), Fort Benning, GA

Nov 85 - Jun 87 Deputy Commanding General, 1st Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC

Jun 87 - May 88 Director, Washington Office, United States Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL

May 88 - Dec 89 Deputy Chief of Staff (Training), U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, VA

Dec 89 - Aug 91 Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC

Aug 91 - Apr 93 Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, NC

May 93 - Feb 96 Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), MacDill Air Force Base, FL

General Wayne Allan Downing retired from active Army service in 1996.

Medals, Awards, Badges & Tabs

Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Soldier's Medal
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Medal with Valor Device and Award Numeral 11
Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device and 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with Silver and 2 Bronze Service Stars
Southwest Asia Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Vietnam Gallantry Cross with 3 Bronze Stars
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Army Presidential Unit Citation
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Meritorious Unit Commendation
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Combat Infantryman Badge
Master Parachutist Badge
Pathfinder Badge
Jumpmaster Military Free Fall Parachute Badge
Ranger Tab
Office of Secretary of Defense Identification Badge


• Recipient of the 2006 Distinguished Graduate Award from the U.S. Military Academy.

• On 24 September 2008, the Metropolitan Authority of Peoria unanimously voted to change the name of the Greater Peoria Regional Airport to the "General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport."

In Retirement and Post 9/11 Service

In 2001, Downing came out of retirement to coordinate the national campaign "to detect, disrupt and destroy global terrorist organizations and those who support them." He held the title of National Director and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism. He reported to then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge. From 2003 until his death he held the Distinguished Chair at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

Downing was formerly a director of Metal Storm and was on the Board of Directors of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Chairman of the Special Projects Committee of the Corporation; he was not an executive.

Besides working for the U.S. government in his retiree years, he also worked for NBC News as a military analyst. He also performed various speaking engagements.

He was also a visiting faculty member at the University of Michigan Business School, a role in which he conducted seminars on leadership and transformation management. 

Death and Burial

General Wayne Allan Downing, age 67, died at Proctor Hospital on 18 July 2007 of meningitis. He is buried at the U.S. Military Academy Post Cemetery in West Point, Orange County, NY. His grave is north of the main cemetery building.

Honoree ID: 222   Created by: MHOH




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