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Wayne Otto Mattson

1929 - 2012 Obituary Condolences
Wayne Otto Mattson, 82, passed away Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, at his home in Alamogordo. He was born Nov. 5, 1929, in Fond du Lac, Wis., the son of Otto and Esther Mattson. He leaves behind his wife, Lu; three children: Michael (deceased 2009) and wife, Sherry Lynne, and grandson David; daughter Judy Palmer and her husband, Joe, all from Tucson, Ariz.; son Curtis and his friend, Tina Belkofer, at home; his sister Darlene Dennert; and brother-in-law Arnold (Bud), of Mesa, Ariz.
Wayne enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1947 and later graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy (Class of 1955). Upon graduation from Annapolis, he joined the U.S. Air Force and was assigned to the Strategic Air Command for which he flew B-47s as a navigator. After leaving SAC, he was transferred to the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., working in flight research and as a member of the F-111 Test Force. During the Vietnam War he flew as a forward air controller in O2As out of Laos where he flew 175 combat missions. He was next assigned to Holloman Air Force Base where he became chief of the operations branch of the target drone division in 1969. He ended his long 32-year military career at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal and a Combat Readiness Medal.
He was employed by the Hughes Aircraft Company of Tucson as a project engineer for 11 and a half years. Wayne and his family retired to Alamogordo in January 1990 where he took an active roll in community affairs. He served on the board of the RSVP Senior Program, was secretary for the Tularosa Basin Historical Society and was secretary to the Military Officers Association of America. He also volunteered at the New Mexico Museum of Space History, first as coordinator and later doing archival work and extensive research. He authored five issues of the New Mexico Space Journal and a "Pioneer" for the Tularosa Basin Historical Society titled "Unidentified Flying Objects in the Tularosa Basin." He co-authored the book "We Develop Missiles, Not Air." His life was featured in the December 2004 issue of New Mexico Magazine. He was also a popular guest speaker. Wayne was known for his extensive knowledge in Air Force flight history and rocketry and as an avid UFO researcher. He will be missed by all who knew him.
You are invited to attend his memorial service on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship House, 1010 16th St., Alamogordo. The Rev. Jack Moffatt will be officiating. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a scholarship fund.
Direct cremation has taken place under the care of PCS Direct Cremation Services.
To sign the online register book, please visit
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Mar. 11 to Apr. 12, 2012
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