Walker -- Brig Gen Kenneth N Walker


Kenneth Walker enlisted at Denver, Colo. Dec. 15, 1917, and took his flying training at the University of California's School of Military Aeronautics and Matther Field, Calif., getting his commission and wings in November 1918. For three years he was a flying instructor at Brooks and Barron Fields, Texas, and Fort Sill, Okla.

In December 1922, as a first lieutenant, he went to the Philippines as commander of the Air Intelligence Section at Camp Nichols. He held other duties there and returned to the United States in February 1925, as a member of the Air Service Board at Langley Field, Va. He stayed at Langley until 1928, having been Adjutant of the 59th Service Squadron, commander of the 11th Bomb Squadron, and Operations Officer for the 2nd Bomb Group. He graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School in June 1929, and stayed at Maxwell Field, Ala., as an instructor of the school. He next attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., with graduation in June 1933, and promotion to captain in August and to major in October that year.

He went to Hamilton Field, Calif., where he served for three years as Intelligence and Operations Officer of the 7th Bomb Group, commander of the 9th Bomb Squadron and varied group duties. In February 1938, he went to Hawaii, serving as Operations Officer of the 5th Bomb Group at Luke Field, Ford Island, Hawaii, then Executive Officer at Hickam Field, Hawaii and then commander of the 18th Pursuit Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii. General Walker returned to the United States in January 1941, as Assistant Chief of the Plans Division for the Chief of the Air Corps in Washington.

In July 1941, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel as the office became Headquarters Army Air Force. In March 1942, he was advanced to colonel and next month assigned to the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff.

In June 1942, he was promoted to brigadier general and went to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater the next month, where he served from September 1942 to January 1943 as commanding general of the 5th Bomber Command. In this capacity he repeatedly accompanied his B-24 and B-25 units on bombing missions deep into enemy-held territory. Learning first-hand about combat conditions, he developed a highly efficient technique for bombing when opposed by enemy fighter planes and by anti-aircraft fire.

General Walker was killed in action Jan. 5, 1943 while leading such a bombing mission over Rabaul, New Britain. He was awarded the Medal of Honor. Its citation, in part, reads "...In the face of extremely heavy anti aircraft fire and determined opposition by enemy fighters. General Walker led an effective daylight bombing attack against shipping in the harbor at Rabaul, which resulted in direct hits on nine enemy vessels. During this action his airplane was disabled and forced down by the attack of an overwhelming number of enemy fighters. He displayed conspicuous leadership above and beyond the call of duty involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life.

full citation at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.