Associate Magazine-Jan/Mar 2021


F B I N A A . O R G | J A N / M A R 2 0 2 1

The National office received a message from the widow of a graduate in hopes that her husband would qualify for the Hall of Honor. The widow, Liz Willard, was commemorating the 10th an- niversary of the death of her husband Gary Wayne Willard of Session 188. She shared some background about him as well as the act of bravery for which she felt qualified for the wall: Wayne and Liz went to high school together in Dalton,

Georgia. Wayne joined the Marine Corps after graduation and then worked for Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office for ten years. Liz worked for a bonding company in that county. They were reacquainted in 1989 and married in1991. In 1997, Wayne took an opportunity to leave the Sheriff’s Office and work for the US State Department in a personal protection position until 2001. He enjoyed that assignment for a few years before left the federal service and was hired by the Calhoun Police Department in Georgia. Unfortunately, Wayne suffered a knee injury and had to retire at the young age of 43. He still had a spirit of service that didn’t allow him to take it easy. Wayne took a job with the private contractor DynCorp. This company worked with the Department of Defense to serve with the Marine Special Forces as the search was expanded to locate Bin Laden after 9/11. Here is the sequence of events that led to Wayne’s death on June 7, 2010 in Kandahar, Afghanistan as pieced together by Liz through conversations with the military, other Law Enforcement Officers present and the DynCorp/State Department: Wayne was working on the base in Kandahar when a car bomb hit the wall outside the living quarters. Wayne was the only one that wasn’t in the chow hall at the time because his team had been out in the village on a detail. The car bomb made a hole in the wall. Wayne’s Marine Corps and SWAT training kicked in quickly. He grabbed his weapons and engaged the seven Taliban who came through on foot and eliminated the threat they posed. Sadly, he didn’t realize there was an eighth shooter on the roof of the building across the street who ended up takingWayne’s precious life. Wayne’s team heard all the commotion but couldn’t determine the location and arrived too late to help Wayne or apprehend the shooter. It is reported that Wayne saved at least 243 lives that day because of his actions. In honor of his actions Wayne was posthumously awarded the Medal of Valor and the Medal of Freedom. In addition to his beloved wife Liz, Wayne left behind two children, Samantha who was 18 and Travis who was 13 at the time of his death. It had been a goal for both of them to visit foreign countries including Italy, Greece and Israel. As part of the grieving/heal-

ing process, Liz chose to take their previously scheduled cruise intended to celebrate their 25th anniversary. It was in Israel that Liz experienced a transformative moment: she approached the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and as her outstretched arms touched the Wall, she felt electricity coursing through her body. She felt this was her sign that Wayne would always be watching over her. The National Executive Board looked at the circumstances of his death and, unfortunately, had to inform that her husband’s brave death did not meet the criteria to be added to the Hall of Honor. That criteria mirror what is set forth by the FBI and the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund which pre- cludes inclusion when the deceased was working for a contractor and not working in a commissioned position. In no way should this distract from the sorrow the family is feeling or the bravery of her husband’s actions.

The entire National Executive Board extended their con- dolences to the family and requested that Gary Wayne Willard’s exemplary service be memorialized in this edition of The Associ- ate magazine. If you were a member of Wayne’s session (188th) and wish to contact the family, you may use this email address: "Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13


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