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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] He also served on the board of directors at a private military company, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

Wayne A. Downing
GEN Downing, Wayne A.jpg
General Wayne A. Downing
Born(1940-05-10)May 10, 1940
Peoria, Illinois
DiedJuly 18, 2007(2007-07-18) (aged 67)
Peoria, Illinois
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchEmblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service1962–1996
RankUS-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands heldUnited States Special Operations Command
U.S. Army Special Operations Command
Joint Special Operations Command
75th Ranger Regiment
Battles/warsVietnam War
Gulf War
AwardsDefense 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 workmilitary analyst, NBC News
Wayne A. Downing
1st United States Deputy National Security Advisor for Combatting Terrorism
In office
1 October, 2001 – 1 October, 2002
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byPosition Abolished
Wayne A. Downing as Major General, 1988
GEN Wayne A. Downing in his service uniform


Military careerEdit

Post 9/11Edit

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 decorationsEdit

Downing's awards and decorations include:

Badge Combat Infantryman Badge
Badge Master Parachutist Badge
Badge Ranger Tab
1st Row Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal w/ oak leaf cluster Army Distinguished Service Medal w/ oak leaf cluster
2nd Row Awards Silver Star w/ oak leaf cluster Defense Superior Service Medal Legion of Merit w/ 3 oak leaf clusters Soldier's Medal
3rd Row Awards Bronze Star w/ valor device & 1 Silver oak leaf cluster Purple Heart Defense Meritorious Service Medal Meritorious Service Medal w/ 2 oak leaf cluster
4th Row Awards Air Medal w/ valor device & numeral 9 Army Commendation Medal w/ valor device & 3 oak leaf clusters Presidential Citizens Medal 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 careerEdit

Downing 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 (October 8, 2001). "Counter-Terror Team Takes Shape". Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ C-SPAN (October 9, 2001). "New Anti-Terrorism Officials Announcement". Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  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 linksEdit