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Monday, July 23, 2007

American Legacy: Wayne Downing

Dispatch from Michael Yon:

American Legacy: Wayne Downing

These words come with more news about the passing of General Wayne Downing, one of America’s finest. This rare man was highly respected by the best of the best. I had the honor of talking several times with General Downing in Iraq earlier this year. He was still leading the way, providing his seasoned analysis on the air with NBC’s Brian Williams. At the time, I wrote of meeting General Downing in a dispatch entitled “Ernie is Dead”:

Morning came, and then night again. During the evening, as I walked back to my tent, there was a crew of fourteen from NBC. Sound people, cameramen, a big satellite dish, the works. Three producers. It was all there—the face of the “evil” Mainstream Media in the personages of Brian Williams and Richard Engle. And standing in the dark with them as military analyst for NBC was retired 4-Star General Wayne Downing, a legend in special operations. (Think Delta Force and all the rest of the gang.) Wayne Downing graduated West Point in 1962. Served in Vietnam and everywhere else under the sun. He might have killed more terrorists directly and indirectly than any man on the planet.

I had to rub my eyes. Was that General Downing?

The General Downing?

When Presidents called 911—Downing probably answered the phone. And there he was before me. I walked up and started a conversation without mentioning my name. But General Downing asked, and upon hearing it immediately lit up saying he actually reads this website, and from our conversation it was obviously true. Of course, I said that I was going to take that and run with it, and tell the world that General Downing reads this site.

Among his many other accomplishments, General Downing had commanded the 2nd Ranger Battalion, one of the most difficult and prestigious jobs in the entire military. Today, LTC Erik Kurilla, formerly commander of the Deuce Four and totally recovered from his last gunshot wounds, is now commander of 2nd Ranger Battalion. Small world.

To read the rest, please click the link. Thanks.

Michael Yon does not receive funding or financial support from any media outlets, movie, book or television deals at this time. He is entirely reader supported. He relies on his readers to help him replace his equipment and cover his expenses so that he may remain in Iraq and bring you the stories of our soldiers. If you value his work, please consider supporting his mission.