Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Fred's History

Gone But Not Forgotten

WalkerSm.jpg Colonel Fred W. Walker, United States Air Force Academy Class of 1964, died at MacDill AFB on February 14, 1990, after a long and incredibly courageous struggle with cancer. He was a lifelong member of the USAFA Association of Graduates.

Colonel Walker served with distinction in a variety of command and staff positions within special operations during his 25 years of service to his country, culminating his career as director of Psychological Operations (PSYOP) and Civil Affairs, J-9 at the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Prior assignments included chief, PSYOP Division, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and high-level tours on the CINCPAC staff and Air Staff in the PSYOP career field.

He served as an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) at Hurlburt Field, FL from 1971 to 1973, lecturing on counter insurgency, cross-cultural communications, unconventional warfare and psychological operations, and continued visiting the school as a guest lecturer throughout his career.

A prolific author, he has published articles on military and other general interest topics in Air University Review, National Guard, Defense and Foreign Affairs, Perspectives, and Journal of Defense and Diplomacy. He served as a cofounder, executive editor, and later as editorial board chairman of Asia-Pacific Defense Forum, a U.S. Pacific Command publication. He was an adjunct faculty professor at the National Defense University in Washington D.C. and served two terms as president of the Psychological Operations Association.

Colonel Walker was a senior pilot with more than 2,300 flying hours in C-130s, 0-2s, T-29s and T-39s, and was a qualified parachutist. His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, eight Air Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Pennsylvania Meritorious Service Medal. On November 29, 1989, he was awarded the prestigious Gen. Richard G. Stilwell Award y the Psychological Operations Association for his career contributions to the field of PSYOP in support of U.S. national objectives.

Colonel Walker was retired and decorated at an emotion-filled bedside ceremony by USCINCSOC, Gen. James J. Lindsay, USA. on February 9, 1990. He is survived by his wife, Nyra Williams; children, Fred and Jenna Walker, and John, William and Broc Williams; his parents Frederick and Jeanette Walker; brother, Charles Arthur Walker; and sister, Sarah Jane Walker.

Memorial services presided over by General Lindsay, USCINCSOC, were held on February 16, 1990 at the MacDill AFB chapel. Colonel Walker was buried that same week at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

Someone once said, “Every man's work is a portrait of himself.” During his appointment as General Lindsay's J-9 combined with his previous assignments, Colonel Fred Walker pioneered more PSYOP initiatives in support of U.S. national objectives than any other individual of our PSYOP community. Throughout a long and valiant struggle with an illness that would have laid lesser men low, he literally “moved PSYOP mountains,” standing up the J-9 as an operational directorate within USSOCOM. Colonel Walker's personal philosophy and the principal ethic by which he lived, can best be summed up in his own words: “The truth is the best propaganda.”

(By Col. Richard F. Brauer, Jr., Commandant, U.S. Air Force Special Operations School; rewritten from Perspectives, Summer 1990 and appearing in Gone But Not Forgotten, Checkpoints, Winter 1990)
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