Major Reece J. Woodard, USMC (Ret.)
September 12, 1920 - September 30, 2013
Born in Hillsdale, Michigan to Wilma J. Miller Woodard and Rolland R. Woodard, Major Woodard was graduated from Hillsdale High School in 1938 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served aboard the USS Wyoming until September 1941. He attended Hillsdale College until May 1942. Woodard was inducted into Naval Aviation, the V-5 program, taking Civilian Pilot Training at Mount Pleasant, Michigan. He completed Pre-Flight Training at the University of Iowa and Basic Flight Training at Glenview, Illinois. Woodard then was graduated from Flight School at Corpus Christi, Texas, in July 1943 as Naval Aviator and commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the US Marine Corps Reserve. He flew combat missions in WWII in the North Solomon Islands and the Philippines. While on active reserve status from 1946 to 1948, he returned to Hillsdale College and obtained a BA degree. He returned to active duty and completed Navy Electronics School at Memphis, TN. Woodard flew combat missions in Korea in 1952-53 and served in squadrons and attended service schools in the '50s. He attended Airborne Electronic Warfare School at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, MS in 1954-55, and then served two years as exchange officer with the Royal Air Force in 1960-61, stationed at Coltishal RAF Base, and mentored British pilots in air-to-air refueling. Only the front-line aviators were invited to foreign exchange duty stations because they were also considered "ambassadors." From 1961-64, he was stationed at Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, VA, and helped to develop the avionics for the A-6 Intruder. Woodard then served in Vietnam as the XO of MAG-13 in 1966-67, and retired from the USMC in 1967 with two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 10 Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal (combat V), two Presidential Unit Citations, an Army Unit Citation, two Navy Unit Citations, and campaign medals from three wars. Woodard was employed by the State of Florida for 16 years, retiring in 1982. His loving wife, Lorna Merkle Woodard, of 63 years, predeceased him. He leaves his daughter Kris Woodard Sinclair (George), sons William Windsor Woodard (Laura Jean) and James Robert Woodard (Kristie); grandchildren Adam Woodard Saslow (Lisa), Sarah Gabrielle deYoung Saslow Deelstra (Steve), Jessica Woodard Gotwalt (Christopher), Benjamin Woodard and Rachel Woodard; and great-grandchildren Jacob and Audrey Deelstra and Natalie and Ethan Saslow. Interment is at Barrancas National Cemetery, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL on Friday, January 17th, 2014 at 11:30 am, Court A. Gifts in his memory may be made to the National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, 1750 Radford Blvd., Pensacola, FL 32506, where he volunteered more than 4,000 hours of his time.
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Published in Pensacola News Journal on Jan. 12, 2014