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Wayne A. Downing

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Title: Wayne A. Downing  
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Subject: General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport, Report of the National Commission on Terrorism, Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute, Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, Iraq War troop surge of 2007
Collection: 1940 Births, 2007 Deaths, American Broadcast News Analysts, American Military Personnel of the Vietnam War, Burials at West Point Cemetery, Colonels of the 75Th Ranger Regiment, Deaths from Meningitis, Infectious Disease Deaths in Illinois, Légion D'Honneur Recipients, People from Peoria, Illinois, Presidential Citizens Medal Recipients, Recipients of the Air Medal, Recipients of the Bronze Star Medal, Recipients of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Recipients of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross (United States), Recipients of the Distinguished Service Medal (United States), Recipients of the Gallantry Cross (Vietnam), Recipients of the Legion of Merit, Recipients of the Purple Heart Medal, Recipients of the Silver Star, Recipients of the Soldier's Medal, Recipients of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Tulane University Alumni, United States Army Generals, United States Military Academy Alumni
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Wayne A. Downing

Wayne A. Downing
General Wayne A. Downing
Born (1940-05-10)May 10, 1940
Peoria, Illinois
Died July 18, 2007(2007-07-18) (aged 67)
Peoria, Illinois
Place of burial West Point Cemetery, New York
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1962–1996
Rank General
Commands held United States Special Operations Command
U.S. Army Special Operations Command
Joint Special Operations Command
75th Ranger Regiment
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Gulf War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (4)
Soldier's Medal
Bronze Star (6)
Purple Heart
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (3)
Air Medal (9)
Army Commendation Medal (4)
Other work military analyst, NBC News
Wayne A. Downing as Major General, 1988
GEN Wayne A. Downing in his service uniform

Wayne Allan Downing (May 10, 1940 – July 18, 2007) was a retired four-star United States Army general born in Peoria, Illinois. He graduated from the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1962 and held a Master of Business Administration degree from Tulane University.[1]


  • Military career 1
  • Post 9/11 2
  • Awards and decorations 3
  • Civilian career 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Military career

Post 9/11

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."[2] He held the title of National Director and Deputy National Security Advisor for combating terrorism.[3] 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 a senior executive with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). He also performed various speaking engagements.

Besides working for the US government in his retiree years, he also worked for NBC News as a military analyst.[1]

In 2006 he received the United States Military Academy's 2006 Distinguished Graduate Award.[4]

Downing died on July 18, 2007, of meningitis[5] and was buried in the West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York on September 27, 2007. His grave is just north of the main cemetery building.

On September 24, 2008, the Metropolitan Authority of Peoria voted unanimously[6] to change the name of the Greater Peoria Regional Airport to the "General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport".

Awards and decorations

Downing's awards and decorations include:

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Badge Combat Infantryman Badge
Badge Master Parachutist Badge
Badge Ranger Tab
1st Row Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ oak leaf cluster
2nd Row Awards Distinguished Service Medal w/ oak leaf cluster Silver Star w/ oak leaf cluster Defense Superior Service Medal Legion of Merit w/ 3 oak leaf clusters
3rd Row Awards Soldier's Medal Bronze Star w/ valor device & 1 Silver oak leaf cluster Purple Heart Defense Meritorious Service Medal
4th Row Awards Meritorious Service Medal w/ 2 oak leaf cluster Air Medal w/ valor device & numeral 9 Army Commendation Medal w/ valor device & 3 oak leaf clusters National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 service stars
5th Row Awards Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal w/ 1 silver service star & 2 bronze service star Southwest Asia Service Medal Army Service Ribbon
6th Row Awards Army Overseas Service Ribbon Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ 3 bronze stars Vietnam Campaign Medal w/ "60" Device Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Badge Pathfinder Badge Jumpmaster Military Free Fall Parachute Badge
Unit Awards Presidential Unit Citation Joint Meritorious Unit Award w/ oak leaf cluster Meritorious Unit Commendation Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation

Downing also earned the Vietnam Civil Actions Medal Unit Citation, French Parachutist Badge, 75th Ranger Regiment DUI and Secretary of Defense ID Badge.

Civilian career

Dowing was on the Board of Directors of SAIC and Chairman of the Special Projects Committee of the Corporation.


  1. ^ a b NBC Nightly News, Western Edition, September 27, 2007
  2. ^ CBSNEWS (8 October 2001). "Counter-Terror Team Takes Shape". 
  3. ^ C-SPAN (9 October 2001). "New Anti-Terrorism Officials Announcement". 
  4. ^ Wayne A. Downing, 67; Army general was a prominent advisor on terrorism
  5. ^ MSNBC report
  6. ^ MSNBC report – Peoria Airport Gets A New Name

External links

  • Commemoration for Wayne Downing by NBC News
  • An interview with General Wayne Downing on WTVP's "Interesting People" Recorded on March 31, 2006
  • Profile at SourceWatch
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