Wayne – A Veteran’s Journey Through Service and Sacrifice

Avatar HDYS | May 24, 2024

In this episode of “How Do You Serve,” we have the honor of sitting down with Wayne Wallingford, a distinguished veteran who served in the United States Air Force for an impressive 25 years. His journey is one of courage, sacrifice, and unwavering dedication to his country.

Wayne Wallingford’s military path began when he joined the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Influenced by his family’s military legacy and a passion for aviation, Wallingford embarked on a remarkable career that would see him fly over 300 combat missions during the Vietnam War. His service earned him prestigious accolades such as the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross. After his time in the Air Force, Wallingford continued his dedication to serving others by becoming an active member of veterans organizations, including VFW, American Legion, and AMVETS. Through his experiences in the military, Wallingford honed essential skills in teamwork, trust, and punctuality that would shape his professional journey beyond the battlefield.

Wayne’s Journey

In a world where the sacrifices of first responders and veterans often go unnoticed, it is crucial to shine a light on individuals like Wayne Wallingford. Wayne’s story is one of courage, sacrifice, and unwavering dedication to serving his country. Through his 25 years of service in the United States Air Force, Wayne Wallingford not only displayed exceptional professionalism but also exemplified the qualities of a true leader. Let us delve deeper into Wayne’s journey, exploring the impact of his military service and the lessons he carries forward into civilian life.

Early Years and Military Service

Wayne Wallingford’s path to military service was influenced by his family’s military background and a deep-rooted passion for aviation. Joining the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha set the stage for a remarkable career dedicated to protecting and serving his country. Wayne’s deployments during the Vietnam War saw him flying over 300 combat missions, earning prestigious recognitions such as the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross. These experiences shaped Wayne’s perspective on teamwork, trust, and the critical importance of punctuality in the high-stakes environment of the Air Force.

Professionalism and Sacrifice

Throughout his military career, Wayne Wallingford learned invaluable lessons in professionalism and the gravity of keeping one’s word. His emphasis on punctuality was not merely a matter of discipline but a matter of life and death during combat missions. Wayne’s reflections on the personal and intense nature of war highlight the sacrifices made by soldiers like himself to protect innocent lives and defend freedom. The trust and camaraderie forged with his crew members in the face of danger underscore the bonds that form in the crucible of military service.

Transition to Civilian Life and Leadership

As Wayne transitioned from military to civilian life, he carried with him the ethos of a “servant leader” – someone who listens, understands, and supports their team. His experiences in the Air Force instilled in him a deep appreciation for the cost of liberty and the sacrifices made by military families. Wayne’s leadership philosophy, grounded in trust and empathy, resonates not only with veterans but with individuals across all walks of life. Through his role as Chief People Officer at Magal’s and his previous corporate experiences, Wayne continues to advocate for connecting with and supporting employees, mirroring the ethos of service ingrained in him during his military tenure.

The Impact of Linebacker 2 and Faith

Wayne Wallingford’s involvement in Linebacker 2, a pivotal operation in ending the Vietnam War, holds significant historical importance. As part of the Strategic Air Command, Wayne faced the challenges and dangers of one of the deadliest aerial combat missions in history. The deep bond he formed with his crew, born out of shared experiences and separation from their families, speaks volumes about the sacrifices and resilience of military personnel. Wayne’s unwavering faith has been a guiding force throughout his life, helping him navigate challenges and instilling in him the values of integrity and perseverance.

Lessons for the Future

Wayne Wallingford’s story serves as a beacon of inspiration for all individuals seeking to understand the true meaning of service and sacrifice. His dedication to professionalism, timeliness, and honoring commitments transcends the realms of military and civilian life, offering timeless lessons in leadership and integrity. As we reflect on Wayne’s journey, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by veterans and first responders to protect our freedoms and uphold the values we hold dear. It is incumbent upon us to carry forward the legacy of individuals like Wayne, passing on the understanding of the cost of liberty to future generations.


In a world where true heroes often go unrecognized, it is imperative to amplify the stories of individuals like Wayne Wallingford. His unwavering commitment to service, his sacrifices in the face of danger, and his leadership grounded in trust and empathy serve as a testament to the enduring spirit of the American military. Through Wayne’s journey, we glean insights into the profound impact of military service, the importance of faith and integrity, and the value of upholding the cost of liberty. As we honor Wayne Wallingford and those like him, we commit ourselves to recognizing and respecting the sacrifices made by our veterans and first responders, ensuring that their stories of courage and dedication endure for generations to come.