WALKER, FREDERICK D. ‘MIKE’ BRIGADIER GENERAL.
Frederick D. ‘Mike Walker BG USAF (Ret.) was born in Carson City, Michigan on December 4, 1932. General Walker (Mike) was born to Fred Walker and Rosalind (Wilson) Walker. He has one older sister, his beloved Betty Snyder. Mike transitioned from this life in peace on June 24, 2012 surrounded by loved ones.
Mike enjoyed growing up with the hard work, adventure and freedom that a small rural community offered a bright and hearty Midwest boy. When he was 10 he joined the war effort by hooking his horse ‘Buck’ to a wagon and collecting steel and rubber. He worked alongside his favorite Uncle Bill (proceeded in death in 2011) at the Wilson farm as a young man which instilled in him a passion for farming that lasted his life time. When Mike was five years old a barnstormer came to town and gave him an airplane ride for 50 cents. Thus began his lifelong love affair with flying.
Mike graduated from Michigan State in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture and an appointment as a pilot in the USAF. Four years later he moved his young family to a small dairy farm in Crystal, MI, but missed flying so returned to the Air Force Reserve where he worked full time moving multiple times until his retirement in 1992.
Mike had many commands, many missions and many accomplishments in his 37 year service to the air force, but he counts his greatest accomplishment as the conversion of 439th Tactical Airlift wing in Westover AFB, MA from a part-time C-130 base to a fully functional, 24 hour, C-5 Galaxy international hub for military material and personnel. This was the primary embarkation location in the United States to launch the aircraft that moved the material for Operation Desert Shield and ultimately Operation Desert Storm. Mike also made sure he personally greeted every returning airplane from the Gulf Theater to thank the veterans for their service to the Mission and their Country.
During his career, Mike logged over 8000 hours of flying time in multiple aircrafts. He also completed Air War College in 1974 and Industrial College of the Armed Forces in ’78. He flew James Baker (then Secretary of State) into Russia on the first humanitarian mission after the wall came down. In May of 1980, Mike and his helicopter rescue team were on site when Mt. St. Helens blew and they were able to save many lives. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with five oak leaf clusters, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with one hourglass device, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
Mike met his life partner Carol Pendell while attending the 8th grade in Carson City. They married in 1953 and she preceded him in death in 2011. Together they produced 5 children: Laura Bersack (Joe), Mike Walker (Jenny), David Walker (Kristine), Jeff Walker (Lori) and Jim Walker (Margie). He took great joy in welcoming his 11 grandchildren: Lindy, Joey, Michael, Jessie (Phil), William, Harrison, Christopher, James, Patrick, Colton and Caden.
Mike traveled extensively both in the service of the Country as well as for pleasure. His passions were numerous. He was a lifelong sportsman leading an annual elk hunting trip to Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains from 1981 until 2010. He loved salmon fishing and hunting in Alaska. Mike offered unfailing support for his family and friends and would beam with pride when speaking of his kids and grandkids accomplishments. He and Carol enjoyed hosting large functions and would often host reunions and get-togethers at the family farm where they had retired.
Mike was very active in civic pursuits; he was a member of the school board, a founding member of the Michigan Prostate Coalition where he lobbied in Washington, D.C. for more research dollars; he was an active member of New Haven Church of the Brethren, Retired Officer Association, the local APOA, and a lifetime member of the NRA. Our family would like to thank all of those who assisted Mike in his life and during his most recent illness.
Funeral services will be held Friday, June 29, 2012 at 11 am at the New Haven Church of the Brethren with Pastor Brian Ruth Officiating. Interment will be in Carson City Cemetery. Visitation will be held Thursday, June 28th from 2-4 and 6-8pm at Lux and Schnepp Funeral Home, Carson City.
In lieu of flowers please make any donations to Wounded Warrior Project, 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300 Jacksonville, Florida 32256 or to New Haven Church of the Brethren, 7587 Grant Rd., Middleton, Michigan 48856.
(Oh if a man tried – To take his time on earth – And prove before he died – What one man’s life could be worth – I wonder what would happen to this world).