Walter C. Layne passed away quietly Sunday, September 1, 2019, at the age of 88, in Ocala, FL.
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Walt was born in Fisk, MO, on February 18, 1931, To E. Willer and Ophelia Layne. He is survived by his wife, Maria; his children, Steven Layne (Lupita) in Colorado, Mark Layne in Georgia, Carol Archuleta in Alaska, Jose Go (Elalina) in Florida, Jimmy Go (Myrna) in Florida, and Mary Manske (Colby) in Florida; 12 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son Ronald Layne (Leticia) of Florida.
Walt came from humble beginnings in an extremely poor rural area of Missouri during the Great Depression. His family grew their own vegetables, raised chickens, and fished a nearby river for food. The family did have the luxury of a cow for milk, but it was run over and killed by a train near the shack the family lived in. At the age of 3, Walt’s real father left the family and Walt and his mother lived with their beloved aunt.
In his teenage years, Walt’s mother remarried and the family moved to Indiana where he worked as a farm hand, fished, and collected wild berries to generate income for the family. At the age of 15, because he did not get along with his stepfather, he was marched down to the local U.S. Army Air Forces recruiter where they lied about his age and had him enlist.
He served in the Air Force and Army for more than 28 years and obtained the rank of Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) in the Air Force prior to transferring to the Army as a Warrant Officer where he retired as a Chief Warrant Officer (CW3) in 1974. Additionally, he obtained a Business Administration degree through Military Extension Courses. Walter also completed one of the first Senior NCO Academies and graduated from the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps and Transportation Corps (Aviation) Schools.
He had numerous assignments during his military career including a tour in Korea during the Korean War; a stint as a military attaché at the US Embassy, Lisbon, Portugal, and two tours in Vietnam with the 606th Commando Squadron.
Awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters; Meritorious Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean and Vietnam Service Medals with 3 campaigns; Korean Presidential Unit Citation Award; Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation Award; U.S. Presidential Citation Award for "The People to People" Program in Portugal; Air Force and Army Commendation Medals with numerous oak leaf clusters; and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with 2 palms.
After retiring from the military, Walt bought and ran a successful dry-cleaning business in Colorado Springs. Five years later he sold the business and accepted a Field Manager position with the ITT Operations and Maintenance contractor in Fairbanks, Alaska. The contract provided administrative, logistical support, and personnel for the U.S. Air Force Distant Early Warning System and the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. His responsibilities included airport operations, crew and flight scheduling, warehousing, food, supplies, equipment, materials, personnel and transportation for remote sites across Alaska.
After his work in ITT Operations, he received a Civil Service Veterans Appointment in Alaska as an Environmental Specialist, Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, Fairbanks-Fort Wainwright. He has worked every position in a DRMO including WS and was promoted through the ranks to Chief (G-13). He has served as the DRMO Chief at Fairbanks, AK; Holloman AFB, NM, and White Sands Missile Range, NM; EL Toro Marine Corps Air Station, Seal Beach and Long Beach Naval Ship Yard, CA; Scott AFB, IL; Central Chief of DRMO and Centralized DEMIL Center at Anniston Army Depot, AL; and, Central Chief at Fort Campbell, KY.
He has received numerous Honor Graduate awards and Sustained Superior Performance Awards, including an induction into the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) Hall of Fame.
When Walt finally retired from 50 years of government service in June 2001, he moved to Ocala, FL, where he continued to give back to the community. Walter became local chair president of his Homeowners Association until his full retirement in 2017. In that same year, Marion County Board of County Commissioners named and dedicated a street in his honor as “a permanent expression of the community’s gratitude for Layne’s countless volunteer hours and successes on behalf of the community.
Walt was a good man and father who was not afraid of hard work as he was never given any favors in life nor did he expect any. Outside of his unimpeachable work ethic, Walt realized early on the key to success is a good education. He was an avid learner and taught his children the value of an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. His true passions, besides his family, included exploring the great outdoors and fishing with his sons. He came into the world during the Great Depression when the world was worse off. He persevered and never gave up in the face of struggles, and he helped to make this world much better by the time he left it. He was a remarkable person who lived an extraordinary life. All who knew him will never forget him. Thank you, husband, father, friend-- you will be missed.