Wayne Edward Downing

Military
media-48992.jpeg UPL 48992 1LT Wayne E. Downing
Pilot
416th BG - 668th and 670th BS - 9th AF

Object Number - UPL 48992 - 1LT Wayne E. Downing Pilot 416th BG - 668th and 670th BS - 9th AF

Post war Downing flew the F-82, B-47, B-50 and B-52 aircraft.

Connections

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Units served with

An A-26 Invader (F6-P, serial number 43-22330) nicknamed "For Pete's Sake" of the 416th Bomb Group prepares for take-off at Mount Farm. Image by Robert Astrella, 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group . Written on slide casing: '416 BG Mount Farm.'
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Ninth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment

People

  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 298th General Hospital
  • Service Numbers: N-772288
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Nurse

Aircraft

  • Aircraft Type: A-26 Invader
  • Nicknames: Miss Mildred
  • Unit: 416th Bomb Group 670th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: A-26 Invader
  • Nicknames: Miss Laid
  • Unit: 416th Bomb Group 670th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: A-26 Invader
  • Unit: 416th Bomb Group 669th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: A-26 Invader
  • Unit: 416th Bomb Group 668th Bomb Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: A-20 Havoc
  • Nicknames: Pink Lady
  • Unit: 416th Bomb Group 668th Bomb Squadron

Places

  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: Melun, Alsace

Events

Event Location Date Description

Born

Ute, Iowa 11 November 1919

Enlisted

Denver, CO 8 November 1941

Other

First 416th BG Combat Mission

Vacquerie, France 26 March 1944

Other

Completed 1st 416th BG Combat Tour

Trier, Germany 17 October 1944 Completed a 65 combat mission tour. He volunteered for a 2nd tour and was transferred to the 670th BS

Other

Married

Cherbourg, France 20 October 1944 Married U.S. Army nurse, Norma Raley

Other

First mission of 2nd 416th BG Combat Tour

Saarburg, Germany 23 December 1944

Other

Final 416th BG Combat Mission

Stod, Czech Republic 1 May 1945 Completed 85 combat missions spanning two tours with the 416th BG

Died

Thousand Oaks, California 4 August 2018 Wayne Edward Downing, aka "Speed," died peacefully on August 4, 2018 at his home in Thousand Oaks, California. He was 98 years old. One of the few remaining WWII combat pilots, he was born Armistice Day, now commonly known as Veteran's Day, on November 11, 1919, to Wayne Wallace and Doris (Selleck) Downing. Wayne spent most of his youth in Duluth, Minnesota, before moving back to Iowa with his parents and younger brother, Norris Selleck Downing. After graduating high school in Sioux City, Iowa, he completed three years of college at Denver University before volunteering in the aviation cadet program. It was there that he quickly discovered his passion for flying. Later degrees were earned at Arizona University (B.S., 1958) and Maine University (M.Ed., 1963). Wayne was a fiercely proud Air Force veteran. During WWII, he flew 86 combat missions from England and France as an A-20 Havoc and A-26 Invader pilot of the 416th Bomb Group. While in Europe, he met Norma Raley Downing, a US Army nurse who landed on Utah Beach, Normandy, France in July 1944. They were married on October 20, 1944, in Cherbourg, France. For his service, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, 17 Air Medals, 6 ETO Battle Stars, and two Presidential Unit Citations. After WWII ended, he continued his service to participate in Search and Recovery of Body Bones, Bombs and Aircraft crashes not yet recovered from the war with USS LST 711. Wayne continued serving during the Cold War flying B-47s among other aircraft until he was honorably discharged in 1962. A natural mathematician, Wayne moved on to teach high school and community college math courses; however, his love of aviation was his true passion for the remainder of his life. Wayne was mild-mannered, patient, generous, kind, and humble. He was a fixture in his Thousand Oaks neighborhood for 50 years and was affectionately regarded as an honorary grandfather to many of the neighborhood children.

Buried/ Commemorated

Westlake Village, California 7 August 2018 Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park Westlake Village, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Denver, Colorado 1137 Sherman Street Worked at the Orpheum Theatre

Wayne Edward Downing: Gallery (2 items)