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CANFIELD — Although Wayne Recknor’s childhood dream of being a fighter pilot never came true, the Canfield man enjoyed a 30-year career in the Air Force during which he led ammunition, weapons and explosives security and logistics units.
“I would do it again,” he said. “It shaped the person I am. I learned that if you take care of your people, your people will take care of you. Whatever you do with people is up to you. Treat people with respect, and they will treat you with respect. I tried to impact every person in every place I served.
The hardest part, Recknor said, was being away from family.
“It puts a lot of stress and pressure on the family,” he said. “If you haven’t, it’s hard to understand.”
During those 30 years in the Air Force, Recknor, 73, had 14 postings, including several overseas.
“Since I was 6, all I wanted was to be a fighter pilot,” he said.
Recknor received his commission through ROTC when he graduated in 1971 from Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia.
“When I got into ROTC, I was supposed to go to flight school,” he said.
Recknor said that between his junior and senior year at college, a medical exam showed he had refraction in his left eye, which indicated a lack of depth perception.
“I was very disappointed,” he said. “I left sailing school and they gave me five options. Nothing excited me except ammunition, and I did that for 30 years.
After graduating in 1972 from the Ordnance Maintenance Officers School at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, his first assignment was as Officer in Charge of the Weapons Loading Section, then the munitions storage at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in South Carolina.
During this time, he spent 90 days in 1972 in Vietnam during the war as a night ordnance chief for a squadron.
“My job was to make sure all the planes were fully loaded for the morning,” he said. “I learned more about loading planes there than I ever did.”
He was then assigned to serve as a security officer at a base in Tainan, Taiwan, where he closed base duties, and then to a squadron at Soesterberg in the Netherlands.
After three years overseas, Recknor returned to the United States, appointed Chief of Weapons Safety at Hollomon Air Force Base in New Mexico and in 1980 was appointed as the Army’s 12th Weapons Safety Officer. look of the year.
Recknor moved to Eglin Base Florida in 1981 as project manager for the initial operational test and evaluation of the CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition (Corrected Ammunition Dispenser). The CBU-87 is a cluster bomb that was the Air Force’s weapon of choice during Operation Desert Storm.
Later, Recknor held leadership positions at bases in Aviano, Italy, as well as in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and New Mexico. His final assignment was for five years as Chief of Ordnance at Hickam Air Force Base (now Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam) on Oahu, Hawaii.
“Working with explosives requires common sense,” he said. “You have to understand that safety is important.”
After retiring from the Air Force in 2001, Recknor served as a Junior Air Force ROTC Instructor at a Georgia high school for a few years, then moved to Canfield in 2008 and served as an ROTC Instructor for a decade at Buchtel High School in Akron.
“It’s a rewarding experience teaching students,” Recknor said. “It’s hard to keep their attention and interest, but it’s very enjoyable.”