Wayne Rice

Kitchen Manager, Past President, Former Board Member of Estrella Warbirds Museum

Wayne Rice

Born in Chicago in 1943, Wayne is the son of Wendell and Grace Rice. Wayne's father was serving in the United States Air Force flying as a Bombardier in B-17s at the time of Wayne's birth. After WWII and a brief hiatus in the civilian world, his father elected to return to active service and flew B-29's in Korea and then retired from the Air Force in 1963 after several years as crew on B-47's. Mom Rice put up with them both and worked for Security Pacific Bank.

Wayne Rice

Wayne Rice

Wayne's flying career began as a USMC Platoon Leaders Class candidate in 1964. After graduation from UCSB in 1966, he received a commission as a 2d Lieutenant and proceeded to NAS Pensacola for flight training. Midway through flight training he and Marcia were married. Wings were earned in January of 1968 and orders followed to MCAS El Toro where he joined VMFA-232 and transitioned to the F-4 Phantom. The squadron deployed from El Toro to Vietnam in 1969, remaining there until the North Koreans decided to act rowdy and captured the Pueblo. Following the capture, the squadron redeployed to Japan and Korea to help keep the North Koreans in check.

Staying in the Marine Corps, Wayne attended TOPGUN in 1972 and served as a weapons instructor in several USMC F-4 squadrons to include VMFA-333 that is the source of the museum's F-4. After promotion to LtCol in 1981, Wayne was assigned to the headquarters, First MAF as the Aviation Plans Officer with planning responsibilities for NATO reinforcement, Central America (primarily Nicaragua) and Southwest Asia (Arabian Peninsula and Iran). He was medically retired in 1986 due to a bout of cancer.

After the Marine Corps, he shrugged off the medical glitch and pursued a flying career with several charter airlines attaining FAA type ratings in the B-727, B-737, and B-757. One of the airline highlights is one entire summer of flying the Dole Presidential Campaign. He also flew as captain for several NBA, NHL and MLB teams as well as numerous entertainment groups. The notorious "age 60 rule" bit in 2003 and he retired from the airlines.

Wayne and Marcia moved to Paso Robles in 2004 after Marcia retired from the University of California Irvine's Biological Sciences Department. They currently occupy 10 acres in Independence Ranch accompanied by two horses, one cat and, hopefully, a replacement dog. Their daughter is married and selling software in Castle Rock, CO. Wayne's brother, after a tour in the USAF as a Flight Surgeon, is a practicing radiologist in San Diego.

Wayne is one of those individuals whom is always finding ways to serve at the museum. Not only has he always been active on the flight line, Memorial Flights, he has spent years on the Board of Directors as a member, then Vice President, and as President of the Board, 2012-2013. He's always been one to step forward and volunteer to do "the dirty work". You can find him serving as a docent, sharing his knowledge and experience with visitors or fellow members, or even serving as chief cook and bottle washer in the main kitchen. He's One of the Few, One of the Proud, and we like him that way!

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