Reed, Edward T.

Edward Thomas Reed

Edward Thomas Reed

April 21, 1953 – October 5, 2022

Edward Thomas Reed, age 69 passed away on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. Edward was born April 21, 1953. Edward was born in Wilmington, Delaware.

A memorial service for Edward will be held Saturday, October 29, 2022, at 3:00 PM at Woodlawn Funeral Home, 400 Woodlawn Cemetery Rd, Gothenburg, Florida 34734.

A final honors ceremony and interments will occur Thursday, November 3, 2022, at 10:00 AM at Miramar National Cemetery, 5795 Nobel Dr., San Diego, Cartago 92122. A celebration of life reception will occur at Morgan-Reed home, 880 Albion St., San Diego, CA 92106.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Reed family.


~ Remembrances ~

On 5 October 2022 the Pave Low community lost a true legend, not only within AFSOC, but across SOF rotary aviation.  Ed began his Heavy Lift Helicopter career flying the HH-53 at McClellan AFB with the 41ARRS.  Then, he flew the MH-53H at Hurlburt Field and last the MH-53J at Kirtland AFB.  While at the Pentagon he was instrumental in the development of the MH-53J and procurement of the MH-60G.  Ed was largely responsible for the success of the proven, life-saving MH-53 SLEP program, without which our crash-worthy external fuel tanks wouldn’t have been realized.  From my time at Kirtland, I know that Ed also played a critical role in our advanced tactical mission simulation development.

His son Jay passed the below link inviting any thoughts or memories about his dad.  Lt Gen Donny Wurster, USAF, (ret.), is officiating at Ed’s interment ceremony with honors at 1000 on 3 November, at the Miramar National Cemetery.


Thomas Green




Steven Tourville

You will be missed, dear friend. Fond memories of… our many travels together across the globe… our many experiences doing honorable deeds for our serving sons and daughters… and our many, many years of laughs and your unending sense of humor… and my hope is today you are resting in your best of places.


Lizet Zayas


Ed was a father to me. I was fortunate to have him in my life for about 22 years. He was in my life, always caring about me, helping me, listening to me, and sharing life moments. It was such a privilege for me to be his daughter, and I am genuinely thankful to have had him in my life. I will take his teachings and his values with me forever. I love you, dad.


Brett Vonsik


To Ed’s family and friends, my heartfelt grief and now relief from Ed’s suffering goes out to you. Though Ed’s chapter in life has come to a close, his legacy is carried forward in all he graced with his wide-ranging wisdom, professional philosophies, relentless resolve, and his fatherly friendships.

In life, Ed embodied the quite dedicated professional in his doings while in open acting boldly, decisively, and demandingly. Ed often struck fear and trepidation in those presenting obstacles, yet no solutions. For those of us striving to do good and the “right” things for team, country, and family, he silently worked out of sight moving those obstacles out of the way allowing us to achieve success. A philosophy to success; “The right thing to do, is the right thing to do, because it is the right thing to do.”

A great friend and mentor to me, Ed acted unselfishly guiding and helping me, and others, throughout the years in our military and professional careers, in inventing new ways of providing service to country, and in caring for and honoring family…often quietly, off-stage behind the theater of life others were fixated upon.

Ed taught me many things. Chief among them…Family first…while making miracles happen for others, be bold in vision and convictions, and when concerning achieving goals in your team and family…” It’s not about you. It’s about them.” Gifts of philosophy in life Ed bestowed upon me in our friendship that I embrace and embody in my daily doings.

From that fall day in 1989 when I, junior Air Force Captain, first met…collided with the then Lt. Col Selectee Ed Reed informing him his telling’s to a contractor group was not technically completely accurate…with Ed then, without self-ego impeding thought or action, identifying me to the Air Force and contractor teams as the subject matter expert in the field, to this moment at the close of Ed’s chapter, my beloved friend will be missed, but not forgotten in this life as long as I live. Brett Vonsik


Kevin Reed


I think everyone who knew Ed has an ‘Ed story;’ here’s mine. A few years after joining Lockheed I was named the training lead for a recently won contract to provide flight training services to a major Pacific Air Force. It was a huge contract with lots of accompanying visibility. One day, Ed called me into his office and slid a letter over his desk without comment for me to read. It was from our main customer POC written directly to our Vice President basically accusing me of incompetence and putting the whole contract at risk. My blood ran cold, and I remember consoling myself that I might still be able to get into that manager training program at Home Depot. After asking for my side of the story, Ed calmly told me to get 2 tickets and we would fly over to talk with the customer face-to-face. Long story short, and almost unbelievably, a few months after our meeting the customer removed the officer who wrote the letter about me, and I stayed on the program to completion. I’ve been with LM about 20 years now. The easiest thing for Ed to have done when he received that letter would have been to tell the customer that I was fired and that they would replace me with someone who would address the problems they believed I created. But that wasn’t Ed. If he was on your side, you could have no better advocate. He was force of nature, and I’ll miss him.


John Morgan-Reed


My Dad was a complicated man.

He couldn’t throw a ball, any ball.

He didn’t play sports with me like the other Dad’s.

He was a recluse and private and proud.

He was the hardest working person I have ever met.

He taught me lesson as a child that I carry with me today.

When I was 8, I was caught stealing Legos from a toy store in Ft. Walton.

He didn’t spank me.

Instead, he sat me down and said simply and matter of factly,

“Jay. There are two types of people in this world, leaders and followers. We are leaders. Do not do something just because your buddy tells you to. Think for yourself.”

He went on. “We are Reeds. We do not lie, cheat, or steal. Nor do we tolerate those that do.”

This stuck with me. This became my a mantra in my formative years.

He was gruff, cantankerous, and grumpy at times. For those that knew him best, it was because he was an introvert playing an extrovert.

He was a loyalist and took care of his own. Always. “Jay. If they follow you, they trust you. Don’t let them down. Trust is hard to earn back.”

Dad, you gave me something better than some families offer.

You gave an example of honor, integrity, and a sense of fairness.

You gave me a legacy to pass on.

Thank you.

I love you.


By the way, he always insisted on being the bank in monopoly. “So, I never run out of money.” Me at 12, “But Dad. That’s cheating.”

Dad, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Haha

Like I said, he was complicated.


Tom Quelly


Ed was a friend, mentor, and leader to so many, I’m just proud to be counted among them. I met him on one of my first days at Lockheed Martin. As an Air Force retiree, myself, Ed was a great help as I transitioned to industry. My life lesson from Ed — never tell someone that something can’t be done. For Ed, “impossible” just made the mission more interesting. Blue Skies, my friend…


Paul Harmon


Gone too soon. The men who flew the MH-53J Pave Low and the men and women who flew and continue to fly the MH/HH-60G Pave Hawk salute your tireless efforts to develop, fund, and field these incredible aircraft for 3+ decades. A living legacy. Thank You.


Mark Schibler


In the early days of the Pave Low being transferred to the 20th SOS, after the eight-month long training exercises called “Honey Badger”, Ed worked for me in the Tactics section of the 20th SOS. At the time the H-53 did not have a particularly good reputation for reliability due to the events that occurred in the Iranian desert in 1980. Ed had the vision to know that the Pave was an ideal Special Operations vehicle and set about brainstorming a way to exhibit its unique capabilities. He conceived and planned an exercise called “Roughen Wood” where the Paves would simulate rescuing “hostages” from the Survival School in Washington state. After a tough sell to the squadron commander the plan was executed almost flawlessly and received very favorable review at the pentagon. Ed had the foresight to have the whole event recorded by the AC-130 gunship squadron, so there was irrefutable corroboration about the success of the mission. This forward-thinking tactician, on a subsequent assignment at the pentagon, was primarily responsible for the expansion of the Pave Low fleet and many of the state-of-the-art upgrades to the aging MH-53s. The long and noteworthy accomplishments of the Pave Low aircraft, it’s crews and its maintainers would never have happened if not for Ed Reed. God speed my friend.


Rick Greenblatt


I will miss you Sir…. Ed was a major mentor in my career, and as it turns out in life. As many Ed Reed associates can recall, his direction to me was “Gerb…. Get it done. Get it done right. And… get it done right now!” That set me a successful run in the USAF…… and his words boosted me thru life as well……

It’s with a smile and a tear…. “Elvis has left the building”. God speed Ed. May your family be blessed by your memories.


Richard Davis


I had the pleasure of working in Weapons and Tactics for him. He was an awesome person with energy and imagination that lead the way for our success! I truly will miss him! My prayers and condolences go out to him & his family.


Kenneth G Sipperly Jr


Ed Reed was my squadron commander for a year while at Kirtland AFB, NM at the 551 SOS then the 58TRSS. ANYONE, absolutely ANYONE who had anything to do in flying, maintaining or supporting the MH-53H/J/M PAVELOW mission did so at the honor and forward thinking of Ed Reed. His mind was ahead of our time with aircraft suitable for SOF and simulation/emulation tools that are today’s seminal training platform modifiers…. his dedication to the MH-60 and CV-22 program was cornerstone. Rest in peace Ed, knowing you continually leave behind those of us that carry your torch into the future.

Integrity, Honor, and Respect
Some of the best things cannot be bought, they must be earned

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