Colleague remembers life, career, legacy of OE veteran Wayne Galloway

Huntsville Center
Published March 22, 2019
Wayne Galloway is pictured during a colleague’s retirement ceremony. Galloway, who had worked for Huntsville Center for 28 years, passed away Feb. 13, 2019.

Wayne Galloway is pictured during a colleague’s retirement ceremony. Galloway, who had worked for Huntsville Center for 28 years, passed away Feb. 13, 2019.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (March 22, 2019) – Wayne Galloway, a supervisory safety occupational health specialist who served with Huntsville Center for 28 years, passed away Feb. 13, 2019. He was 74.


Galloway leaves behind his wife Veronica, daughter Leslie, son Christopher, and three grandchildren.


Galloway also leaves behind his Huntsville Center family at the Ordnance and Explosives Design Center, to whom he leaves a legacy as an expert in his field, a unique communicator, an innovator and a teacher.


“He was the greatest boss I’ve ever had,” said Gregory Parsons, supervisory safety occupational health specialist with the Ordnance and Explosives Design Center.


Galloway hired Parsons in 1993, and the two have worked together ever since. According to Parsons, Galloway was one of the first key people who helped build what is now the OE Design Center, along with the first director, David Douthat.


“First it was the safety office, and then we started adding program managers to support the contracts – and it just grew,” Parsons said of the burgeoning team.


Parsons said Galloway has always had a unique way of communicating. For Galloway, opportunities to communicate were also opportunities to teach.


“If you asked Wayne a question, he would walk you down this path,” Parsons said. “It may be a quick yes-or-no question, but he would still walk you down this path, which would take about 15 minutes, but by the time you got back to the answer, you would know exactly why that answer existed. He was always a teacher – a very good one if you had the patience.”


Galloway took this approach when he launched the OE stand-down, which Parsons said happened every winter holiday season when most projects were slowed down or paused.


“We went over things that happened during the year and issues that came up and how we resolved them,” said Parsons. “It was a learning process. He wanted people to learn why he was doing certain things so they’d understand it.”


Parsons said the stand-down became so successful that the directorate began to include program managers and, then contractors. Parsons said the annual event continued growing, but soon went beyond the scope of Galloway’s original vision.


“Wayne told them, ‘Don’t do this. You’re going to make this too big,’” Parson said. “Two sessions later, headquarters cancelled it all.”


“That was one thing Wayne did: He had the innate ability to see what’s happening at the moment and predict what’s going to happen years down the road, or six months down the road with that particular action,” Parsons said.


In Parsons’ eyes, one of Galloway’s biggest accomplishments was starting the International Operations Center, which managed the disposal of ammunition overseas.


“He flew over and told them what they needed and built it all,” said Parsons. “He started it, conceived of it. At the time, it was captured enemy ammunition. It’s evolved since then, but he started it. He designated me the operations NCO for it.”


Before he joined Huntsville Center, Galloway served 26 years in uniform, which included service in the Marine Corps and in the Army, the latter of which he retired from as an explosives ordnance disposal senior noncommissioned officer.


“He originally got out of the Marine Corps because they wouldn’t send him back to Vietnam, so he joined the Army, and they sent him to Vietnam,” said Parsons, who himself served in the Army as an explosives ordnance disposal technician. “He wanted to be in Vietnam. He liked it. I think he had three tours. He was combat wounded – a Purple Heart recipient – and I’m sure he had some medals, but Wayne is not that kind of person. He never talked about that stuff.”


Parsons said Galloway was instead far more concerned with the missions at hand.


“Over 26 years there were so many things we battled, fought over – him and I – we did that a lot, but we were always friends – I mean, he was my boss,” said Parsons.


“The Corps of Engineers lost more knowledge than they will ever know,” Parsons added. “He was a good man. We have lost a lot.”