Chief Master Sergeant Wayne Fisk was born in Waldport, Oregon, on April 6, 1945, and raised in the mountainous Oregon Coast. In high school, Wayne was a member of the honor society, an award-winning cadet in the Alaska Civil Air Patrol, and he even turned down an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy to care for his terminally ill mother. In March 1966, Fisk enlisted in the Air Force and was accepted for pararescue training. In 1967, he served at Eglin AFB, Florida, until his unit was assigned to Udorn RTAFB, Thailand. Fisk then performed combat rescue missions from classified sites in both Laos and North Vietnam.
One year later, he transferred to Kindey AB, Bermuda, as a member of the Air Force primary recovery team for Apollo Missions 8, 9, and 10. After only 11 months in Bermuda, Fisk voluntarily returned to Southeast Asia for two more consecutive tours with his former unit. It was during this time that then-Staff Sergeant Fisk participated in the famed Son Tay POW Camp Raid in November 1970 and received the Silver Star for his actions. From 1972 to 1974, he instructed at the USAF Pararescue School at Hill AFB, Utah, and was honored as the training wing's outstanding NCO instructor. Fisk later returned to his former unit in Thailand as a Technical Sergeant and participated in the evacuation of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
In May 1975, when Cambodian communist forces highjacked the Mayaguez, Fisk was a member of the assault force that successfully recovered the ship, rescued the crew, and liberated the entrapped US Marines. Fisk received his second Silver Star during this operation. In January 1976, he moved to Clark AB, Philippines, to be an Assistant Team Chief, Team Chief, and Acting First Sergeant for Det 1, 33 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service (AARS). In 1979, Fisk was honored as the first USAF enlisted man named to the US Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America, the Military Airlift Command's Senior NCO of the Year, the US Air Force's Outstanding Airman in the Phillippines; and a recipient of the Air Force Association's Citation of Honor.
In October 1979 Fisk worked at Headquarters, Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service, Scott AFB, Illinois, as the Pararescue Standardization and Evaluation Flight Examiner. After a parachute injury in 1980, he left pararescue duty to serve as an instructor at the USAF Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Gunter AFS, Alabama. As a newly-minted Chief Master Sergeant, Fisk led the effort to establish the USAF Enlisted Heritage Hall and later became the director. His final Air Force assignment came when he was assigned as the Operations Coordinator in the Defense Attache Office, Embassy of the United States of America, Ottawa, Canada.
Fisk's awards and decorations include the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Air Medal with 17 oak leaf clusters. Chief Fisk is married to the former Angelina Arceo from the Philippines.
When Cambodia's Khmer Rouge forces hijacked the US-flagged SS Mayaguez in May 1975, Fisk was part of the assault force that successfully recovered the ship, rescued the crew, and liberated the entrapped US Marines. As he helped load the last group of Marines aboard his HH-53, he left the relative safety of the helicopter to recover the body of a Marine he had seen earlier. While searching for the body, he engaged a Khmer Rouge sniper and thus became the last US soldier to actively engage enemy forces in South East Asia. He received his second Silver Star for his heroism during this daring operation.