Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Brigadier General Frederick “Mike” WalkerDecember 04, 1932 – June 24, 2012
U.S. Veteran 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 6-8 pm 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).
~ GUEST BOOK ~
November 01, 2012What a loss — the best wartime commander I ever knew — always caring, always dropping in at duty sections no matter the hour to see what was going on.~George Fillgrove of Olean, NY
July 02, 2012Sorry Sharon and I could not attend the services for B/Gen Mike. We served together for many years at Westover but I fondly remember serving as his Executive Officer during his most challenging role as 439 AW Commander during Desert Storm/Desert Shield. M~Thomas B. Gray of Warner Robins, GA
July 01, 2012The Runways of Heaven will be in good care now. Gen. Mike was a great man and leader. It was an honor and privilege to have served with him. May God bless his soul and his family.~CMSgt Raymond J. Gosnell USAF Ret of Jensen Beach ,Fla 34957
July 01, 2012Gen Walker was a great man and outstanding leader. He meant what he said and said what he meant. I would have followed him anywhere. I always looked up to him (yes he was taller than me), he was affectionately known as Poppa Smurf…he did not know that until I had run into him at a change of command ceremony here at Robins. I will never forget his love for the people and their love for him. He will be greatly missed. My condolences and prayers go out to his family.~Sharon Benoit of Robins AFB GA
June 29, 2012My condolences to Gen. Walker’s family. He was the best wing commander I ever had. We, as a wing, accomplished much under his leadership. The world is poorer with his loss. Rest In Peace.~Charles Woodruff of Smers, CT
June 29, 2012You are all in our thoughts and prayers. We have wonderful memories of the trip to Michigan and the family reunion on the farm. We are glad we had the opportunity to get to know everyone. Your parents were wonderful people. God Bless Bill & Kathy (Phil’s Daughter) Reeves 672 Moye Road Columbus, GA 31907~Bill and Kathy Reeves of Columbus GA
June 29, 2012I am so very sorry for your loss. Brig. Gen. Walker was a terrific man with whom I worked with at Westover ARB. He will be sadly missed!~Kathleen Bielecki-Wilken of Chicopee, MA
June 29, 2012My most heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of General Walker. I keenly feel your loss.General Walker was an exceptional officer and his influence on all of us members of the 927th and 63TAS was immeasurable. May I extend best wishes to his family.~GP Shannon, LtCol USAF of Petoskey, Michigan
June 29, 2012Sitting here on my desk is General Mike’s broken travel alarm clock. His elk hunting group had a tradition for a clock or watch that broke during the trip. They used it as the target for a shooting competition while packing for the journey home. Last to shoot, I was lucky enough to nail the clock. For 19 years it has been an every-day reminder of the modest man who worked hard, played hard, thought big, innovated, accomplished so much, expected good duty performance, and respected his subordinates’ abilities to get it done the smart way. Brigadier General Walker inspired those of us who saw him manage his life so well despite his long term illness. Farewell, Sir.~Andrew “Drew” Milroy, Major, USAF, Retired of Westover Air Reserve Base, MA
June 29, 2012Mike’s devotion to his family and his country was evident in all he did. His unity with Carol was a thing of beauty. He will be greatly missed.~Dan and Cece Rykena of Cleveland, OH
June 29, 2012Paul and I share many wonderful memories of Mike. I remember how General Walker helped the 40th AES retain training time during my tenure as the ART Nurse. He was always there during Desert Shield/Storm to provide advice to solve the numerous problems encountered by the Family Support program at Niagara Falls. Memories such as going out to dinner with Mike at his favorite restaurant in Niagara Falls, attending their wedding anniversary at the farm, these are but a few of the memories we shall cherish. Then just last year Carol and Mike were here at a wing function. His love for farming was a distant second to his love for Carol. He was an honorable person, one whom many should strive to emulate, and one whom I will miss. We are so sad we will be unable to attend his funeral. Shalom, Katherine Cooper.~Katherine Cooper LtC, USAFR Ret of Xenia, Ohio
June 28, 2012I did not have a greater mentor or friend in my Air Force career. I was proud to serve for him flying C-141s at McChord and then honored again when he selected me for my first Commander position at Niagara Falls. He fully supported me as we deployed the C-130 unit for 7 months to Desert Storm. Katherine and I had the pleasure of celebrating Mike and Carol’s 50th Wedding Anniversary in Michigan and then were honored with their company last summer at the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB. HE will be truly missed.~Brigadier General Paul Cooper of Xenia, OH
June 28, 2012My Sympathy to Carol and Mikes family and friends. Mike, Carol and I formed a close special relationship when Mike was on base here in Chicopee, Ma. at Westover Air Force Base… and it just grew year by year. Carol and I realized we shared the same birthday Sept. 16th. Mike would bring Carol here for the day when they came to town…that was a treat. I will miss Mike and Carol very much! They will always be in my heart. I do not feel the same inside, knowing that I cannot call them up anymore to chat or just to say “hi”. But I will always hear their voice in my heart . Always. They were two exceptional people who would help anyone in need. Carol was there for me when I needed HER and visa versa…Our Lord put us together for a reason. Forever in Christ, Diana (Blazej) Abbott.~Diana Blazej Abbott of Chicoopee, Massachusetts
June 28, 2012My sincere condolences to the Walker family. It was my honor to have served for the General in the early years of my military career. He was a true leader and example.~HMCS Glen P. Gosnell of Washington DC
June 28, 2012We are so sorry to hear about the loss of Mike “Mother” Walker. My son, Jonathan (12) and I enjoyed hunting with Mike and my older brother Larry each fall. One particular fond memory is when all 12 of us (seemed like that many at least based on the shots) had missed a bird, Mike stood up and blasted it in one shot and then sat back down. He was a great man, tough as nails, as kind hearted as they come and will be missed by so many. God Bless and our sincere condolences to the Walker Family. Michael, Janel, Kelsie, Hannah and Jonatahn Brooks.~Michael Brooks of Fargo, ND
June 28, 2012My sincere condolences to the General’s family. I had the distinct honor to serve in his Command at Westover, ARB. He was truly an Officer and a Gentleman! I have fond memories of working there and along with Gen. Walker. He always took the time to say thanks personally to his Maintenance folks and I appreciated those efforts. God rest. Chris~SMSgt Christopher Doyle ret of East Longmeadow, Mass
June 28, 2012Gen Walker was my favorite leader.. so glad to have known such a fine man.~MSgt. Simeone of Exton, PA
June 28, 2012I want to send my condolences to the Walker family. Mike and Carol were both awesome people. They were so proud of their family (their children and grandchildren). Mike was always trying to help and assist others- in their needs. He was a true family man and will be missed by so many. I learned so much from Mike over the years.~Scott Russ of Mason, Michigan
June 28, 2012To The Family Of General “Mike’ Walker. I served at Westover from 1977 to 2005 and will always remember the great leadership Of Mike during the Gulf war and many other times there. I am proud to have served there under his leadership. Steve Hoadley, TSgt. USAF Ret. Peterborough New Hampshire…~Steve Hoadley of Peterborough,New Hampshire
June 28, 2012Gen Walker was one of the best Wing Commanders Westover ever saw.~SMSgt Nancy Clegg of Pope AAF, NC
June 28, 2012Short in height but great in stature was this man. Even the few detractors he had admired him for his dedication to his people and their mission. I had the honor to serve for and with him and the one comment I heard years ago rang true; “Some Generals you would follow through fire, others you want to push in… he was one you would follow through fire” His sacrifice of himself physically during the Gulf War isn’t well known but a hint of the true man. His desire to get it right and treat the troops right gave his base both fame and honor. He will be sorely missed by those that seek honor, dedication, placing others ahead of oneself. Rest in peace great warrior and leader.~BILL SPENCE, LT COL of NAVAL WEAPON STATION EARLER, NJ
~PJ and Christy Walker of Niceville, Florida
June 27, 2012I FLEW WITH MIKE BOTH ON MISSIONS AND IN THE LOCAL AREA-A GREAT COMMANDER AND ALL AROUND GENUINE PERSON WHO TOUCHED EVERY ONE HE CAME IN CONTACT WITH IN A SPECIAL WAY. THE USAF AND THIS COUNTRY HAS LOST A GREAT LEADER.~SMSGT STEPHEN M GATES of CHICOPEE MASS
June 27, 2012Mike transitioned us into the C-130 Aircraft at Selfridge. Then he left us to be a General (imagine that). But, he always came back to visit. It was an honor to fly with him and to know him. He was an outstanding aviator and a true gentleman.~Jim Grove, Lt. Col. USAFR of Livonia, MI
June 27, 2012It was an honor to know and share this life with Mike. He was a great friend, leader and mentor throughout my military career. My condolences for your loss, but I take comfort that God has welcome his faithful servant home. In His grip, Carl~Col (ret.) Carl E. Vogt of Warner Robins, GA
June 27, 2012Loved working for this man, will never forget him.~Sharon Biggs of Hobe Sound, FL
June 27, 2012Goodbye, “Uncle” Mike, we’ll miss you… It was an honor and privilege to have known this great man, and to have been able to spend time with him, soaking up his wit and wisdom. Sincere condolences to the entire family as you celebrate the life and accomplishments of this true patriot and American hero. Sincerely, Tim Wilson & Family~Tim Wilson of San Diego, CA
June 27, 2012To the Walker Family: I’m saddened by the news of the passing of your father. Although I didn’t know him personally, I had the pleasure of working alongside his son Mike while deployed to Sharjah AB, UAE in 1990-1991. Mike flew on my friend’s crew. I was impressed with his willingness to serve with a different unit than his own but Westover was transitioning to C-5 aircraft and he was without an aircraft to fly in the war so he volunteered to deploy with Niagara Falls, I was struck by his patriotism, no doubt a reflection of his father. God Bless. Lt Col Mark Ables, 328th AS~Mark Ables of Williamsville, NY
June 27, 2012BG Walker met me and my crew upon our return from DS at Westover. He gave me the “Welcome the Home” that I as a Vietnam vet never got. I have never forgotten this. To this day, I am and will forever be grateful for the appreciation he showed for anyone who wore a uniform. “CAVU” always in Heaven CW~CW Fox Col (Ret)
June 27, 2012“Uncle Mike” was one of the best. As my brother, Bob, said – Mike was a rare example of a true and loyal friend and patriot. My sincere and deepest condolences to all the Walker family.~Mary Ann Metzger of Virginia
June 27, 2012It was my honor to have known Mike.~Linda Brooks, CMSgt., USAF, Ret of Catlett, VA
June 27, 2012It was an honor to have known and worked with Gen Walker. A man that we shall always remember. Our prayers and heartfelt sympathy to his family.~Mike & Bobbie Knox of Williamsburg, MA
June 26, 2012My deepest sympathies go out to your family. I loved the time I got to spend with Mike and Carol while he was getting his strength back at home. I loved your Mom and Dad and will miss them much. Thank You for letting me be a part of their life. May God Bless all of your family at this time. Love in Christ, Cathy Feighner.~Jim and Cathy Feighner of Perrinton, MI
June 26, 2012I have great memories of the times I’ve shared with Mike in the outdoors both in Alaska and the Big Horn Mtns. I had great respect for him and valued our friendship and know that he will be missed by so many others that feel the same. He was “one to always have at your campfire”Thoughts and prayers to his family.~Bruce Erb (CMSgt. ret.) of Scottsdale, AZ
June 26, 2012I was a Flight Nurse at McChord AFB when BG Mike Walker was our Reserve Base Commander. He was so well liked by everyone. In the hallway of our unit is a Silver Star he gave us with the saying Better to ask forgiveness than for permission. (Sometimes we had been like that) We were also active in ROA with him. What a great man.~Judy Larson, Lt Col USAFR ret of Shoreline, WA
June 26, 2012Deepest condolences from our family to the entire Walker clan. Mike Walker is part of my earliest and best memories of growing up. Mike and my dad were friends in a way to which we should all aspire: they wanted the best for each other and went out of their way to make the best happen.~Robert W. Metzger of East Lansing, MI
June 26, 2012Gen. Walker’s 1st Star hangs on the wall of our squadron, and he was a mile stone in many of our lives, but his star he dedicated to us, ” Nurses do it, and beg for forgivness later” Our prayers are for you, his family, and hope the wonderful life he lead, and all of those who he touched, gives you pride and comfort. God bless, 446 Nurses and Tech’s, McChord,AFB. Mar, Liz, Judy, Di,all of the unit.~Diane Harris Waterhouse of McChord, AFB
June 26, 2012Mike was a Great Commander and Friend.I’ll miss him, as I know you will also.~Darren Venters of Green Valley AZ