Colonel Victor Reed Wakefield, Sr. (United States Air Force, Retired), age 92, of Niceville, FL, passed away on December 7, 2019.
He was born on November 19, 1927 in Midway, TX to Victor Albert Wakefield and Nettie Lou Reed Wakefield, and grew up in Madisonville, TX.
Reed attended Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas, and was graduated from The United States Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1949. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Connecticut.
Upon graduation from West Point, Reed was commissioned in the United States Air Force. He completed pilot training and achieved the aeronautical rating of Command Pilot. Reed loved to fly, and his time in the cockpits of U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft included many highlights. He recalled flying P-51 Mustangs on such low-level training missions that they descended into the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Stationed in North Africa after World War II, Reed flew F-86 Sabre jets on peace-keeping intercept missions.
During the Korean War he remained stateside to train and instruct new pilots, and he remembered “turning out six pilots every four weeks.” Reed served a tour of combat duty in the Vietnam War. He lived and worked with the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division, commanding a squadron of OV-10 Bronco observation planes and performing as a Forward Air Controller. For his combat service in Vietnam, Reed was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Purple Heart.
Later military service included the post as Professor of Aerospace Studies at The University of Mississippi, leading that school’s Air Force ROTC department, and as the national commander of the Air Force Junior ROTC program while stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Reed retired in 1979, after a 30-year career, at the rank of Colonel.
Following his military service Reed settled in Niceville, Florida. There, he helped run businesses including Jennie’s Antiques with his wife, Jennie, before her death, and then the Stella McKay’s Boutique in Ft. Walton, FL with his wife, Barbara. For many years he enjoyed golf at the Rocky Bayou Country Club, flying his single-engine Mooney airplane to and from the runway across the street from his house, and building and fixing things. Reed was an inspiration to many, including encouraging at least four family members to become pilots.
He is predeceased by his parents, an infant sister, Ruth, and his wife Jennie Lou Jackson Wakefield of Selma, AL.
Reed remarried and is survived by his wife, Barbara Ann McKay Wakefield, sons Victor Reed Wakefield, Jr. (Wilma) of Owens Cross Roads, AL and Mark Jackson Wakefield (Carolyn) of Madison, MS, grandchildren Michael Benjamin Wakefield (Kakhi) of Lookout Mountain, TN, Victor Reed Wakefield, III (Kim) of Johns Island, SC and Lauren Elizabeth Wakefield Ray (Jason) of Madison, MS. Surviving step-children are Richard McDarmont, Jr. (Theresa) of Cummings, GA, Leigh Anne McDarmont Denius (Brian) of Mossy Head, FL, and Charles Darren McDarmont (Elena) of Navarre Beach West, FL. Reed has six great-grandsons and eleven great-granddaughters.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be made in Reed’s name to Vitas Hospice, 4576 E Hwy 20, Niceville, FL 32578.