Colonel V. Wayne Hazelbaker
Col. Vincil Wayne Hazelbaker ( USMC, Retired) lost his battle with cancer February 27, 2017 in his Kailua, Hawaii home. He was born October 1, 1927 to Chris and May Hazelbaker on their farm in Grangeville, Idaho. Wayne enlisted in the Navy in 1945 and served in WWII. After the war, he returned to Grangeville to farm and crop dust. He was recalled from the reserves to active duty, during the Korean Conflict. He was accepted into flight school and commissioned as a Marine Corps 2nd LT, 1953. His first tactical squadron was in Miami, FL flying Corsairs where he met his future wife of 63 years, Nancy Scott. Jet trained in NC, he was sent to Korea as a fighter pilot. After Korea, 1stLT Hazelbaker returned to farming where he remained in the reserves and was promoted to Captain. Capt. Hazelbaker returned to active duty in 1960 and was deployed to Japan after his hogs developed rhinitis and he had to abandon his farming plans. He flew the F9F-6 and the A-4 Skyhawk and transitioned to helicopters. Promoted to Major, he was sent to Viet Nam. There, he was shot down twice and awarded the highest medal for bravery from the Marine Corps: The Navy Cross. Returning from Viet Nam, he finished his college education at Oklahoma State Univ., 1968. Ordered to Camp Lejeune, NC and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, he was selected as Commanding Officer of HMM-261, 1969. LtCol Hazelbaker attended Command and Staff College and then took command of HMM-263 in June of 1971 at Quantico, VA; thereafter, ordered to Thailand in 1972. In 1976, he was assigned as plans officer for G-4, FMFPAC, Camp Smith, HI and promoted to Colonel. Col. Hazelbaker flew over 680 combat missions, earned 10 medals and ribbons, and completed 34 years of military service. He was qualified to fly many aircraft-from fixed wing to Jets to Helicopters. Wayne had a love for farming, building a ranch home, raising hogs and Arabian horses. After retiring, he and his wife, Nancy, returned to their ranch in 1980 and for the next 20 years spent the summers there and wintered in their home in Hawaii. Wayne was an outdoorsman, loved fishing and waterskiing. He was a philosopher and enjoyed being social. He was a member of Marine Officers Assoc. of America, Legion of Valor, Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion and USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Assoc. and Tailhook. He is survived by his wife Nancy and three children: Heather Kaio and her husband Jacob, Brad Hazelbaker and his wife Donna and Scott Hazelbaker and his wife Debbie; five grandchildren: Kerstin, Hannah, Avery, Brandon and Emily; and his sister, Lois Fortin of Grangeville, Idaho. He will ALWAYS be remembered for his love of Family, America, the Marine Corps and Idaho. Private services at home, with inurnment at Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased