Accessibility Tools

Skip to main content
PO Box 7, Mary Esther, FL 32569  •  850.581.0099  •

Colonel Wayne D Corder Remembered

Wayne Dennis Corder, 82, of Destin, Florida, passed away on February, 14, 2023, from complications from treatment for Multiple Myeloma. He is survived by the love of his life, Rebecca “Becky” (Ingwersen) Corder and two children from a previous marriage, Wayne “Denny” Corder, Jr. of California and Daphne Corder, of Massachusetts. Wayne was born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, on April 6, 1940 to Doris Hamer. Wayne’s early years were spent with his maternal grandparents, Bert and Jenny Hamer who were Vaudeville performers, and his Uncle Harry in Fairhaven where he developed his lifelong love for the Boston Red Sox from his family’s tradition of listening to the games over the AM radio as a boy. Wayne later moved with his mother and adoptive father, Colonel Willis Corder, to Orlando, Florida and to other follow-on Army assignments for his middle and high school years. Wayne felt a strong calling to the military and had an appointment to West Point through his father, but Wayne wanted to fly. So after attending the Missouri School of Mines, he received the esteemed “Principal Appointment” placement from Vice President Nixon for the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where he attended from 1960 to 1964. He later received a Master’s degree from Pepperdine University.

Wayne proudly served his country in the Air Force for 30 years from 1964 to 1994, retiring as a Colonel. As a pilot, he flew T-38s and B-52s for years before becoming a helicopter pilot. He few H3s, HH53s, and Hueys among others in Vietnam and Korea. He served as Squadron Commander, 20th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida from 1982 to 1984. During that assignment, he implements “Operation BAT” (Caribbean) which was a drug intervention program with the DEA during the Reagan Administration. Other accomplishments include his years as Director for Operations and Vice Commander, 1550th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. He also served as Commander 23rd AF, DET 3 Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. Wayne also played a role in civilian rescue during the catastrophic fire at MGM Grand in Las Vegas in November 1980, serving as the on-ground commander for military and civilian helicopter rescues that saved over 1,000 lives, rescuing hotel guests from the balconies of the hotel tower during the historic fire.

Wayne’s greatest joy in life came from his lifelong love, Becky, whom he met in Alaska and married on June 8, 1974, in Phoenix, Arizona. Wayne and Becky had a special bond throughout their marriage and enjoyed their balance of active duty with military support activities such as fundraising for scholarships, doing yard work together, their love of all things Hawaiian from their years stationed there, and honoring each other in everything they did. Together they were American patriots, football junkies, and doting parents to their beloved Manx felines, Finley and PP.

Wayne and Becky’s 49 years together were “the two of us against the world” and the two of them at the lively center of their world of close friends. They were known by many for their backyard cookouts and after-dinner social time where the scotch flowed as freely as the stories and laughter. To their closest friends, Mark and Penny, John and Mary, Jan and Chris, Darrin and Jamie, Phil and Judy, and many more, Wayne and Becky were a source of joy, laughter, stories, and fun. Wayne especially enjoyed a little provocation during social times, stirring up the banter with friends.

Wayne’s favorite hobbies included long range rifle shooting, his well-curated library of first edition, author-signed World War II books, his pro football obsession of tracking scores and statistics, and his past-time of sending friends videos of the latest antics of Finley and PP. Wayne lived every day with and for Becky and filled their days with fun – fulfilling his belief that a life well-lived was “running it till the wheels fall off!”

Wayne’s family extends its gratitude to the team at the Emerald Coast Cancer Center, Fort Walton Beach, and Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, for their exceptional expertise and care. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, Eglin Air Force Base.

“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” John 16:22

Obituary courtesy of Heritage Gardens Funeral Home in Niceville, Florida.

Submit an Obituary

In Memory Of

Latest News

Member Only Log-In

Now ACA members who are current on their dues and have an email on file with us can update their membership profile, view the members only photo gallery, search the member directory, and read the air commando adventures

Partner of the Month

Elbit Systems of America, LLC is a U.S.-based wholly owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd., a leading global source of innovative, technology based systems for diverse defense and commercial applications…. Visit our website!

Donate Today