Brigadier General Kenneth N. Walker
Commanding Officer, 5th Bomber Command
Missing In Action (MIA) B-17F "San Antonio Rose" 41-24458 earned Medal of Honor
|"General Kenneth N. Walker commanded
the new born Fifth Bomber Command and was responsible for much of
its success from the very start, inspiring the men under him with
his likeable personality and pleasing manner until his untimely
disappearance when the B-17 in which he rode was shot down over
Rabaul several months later. General Walker was anxious that Rabaul
be hit soon and hard and was himself going out on many of these
missions returning some times after having some narrow escapes from
the terrific amount of flak which the enemy threw up at our formations
from guns located at all positions near Rabaul harbor.
The general had a heavy
burden of work cast upon himself with supervising the raids and
also doing everything in his power to see that the enlisted men
as well as the officers were being taken care of. He demanded
that the food be improved in the enlisted men's mess and was
indeed an ‘enlisted
man's general‘. When both officers and men had to wait in
the same chow line an incident occurred which the men talked of
for many months to follow. The general came to the chow line when
it was about a block or more long and took his place last in line.
A corporal offered him his place, one step closer to the food. The
general refused saying he could wait his turn behind the corporal.
About that time a young, arrogant second lieutenant, with head overcome
by the "commissioned drug," walked ahead of the whole
line, edged his way to the food counter. General Walker, standing
at the end of the line, stepped up, took the upstart by the arm
and led him to the rear of the line to wait his turn, demonstrating
to the offender that it sometimes takes more than an act of congress
to make a gentleman."
Maj. Bernhardt L. Morternson, Historical Officer, V Bomber Command,
Kenneth N. Walker was born July 17, 1898 in Cerrillos, New Mexico. He joined the U.S. Army in Colorado. Commander of 5th Bomber Command, based at Port Moresby, New Guinea.
On January 5, 1943 Walker was an observer aboard B-17F "San Antonio Rose" 41-24458 on a bombing mission against Rabaul and went went Missing In Action (MIA). He posthumously earned the Medal of Honor (G.O. No.: 13, March 11, 1943). After his loss, Brigadier General Howard K. Ramey replaced him as Commanding Officer (C.O.) of 5th Air Force, 5th Bomber Command.
Walker was officially declared dead on December 12, 1945. He is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. He also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC).
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Kenneth N. Walker
FindAGrave - Gen Kenneth Newton Walker (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - BG Kenneth Newton Walker (photo, memorial marker photo)
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) - Kenneth N. Walker (memorial marker photo)
Kenneth N. Walker: Airpower's
Untempered Crusader (1997) by Martha Byrd biography of Walker
Born July 18, 1898
(Right to left) General Walker and
Lt. Faulkner in New
Died January 5, 1943
Silver Star (August 1942)
Medal of Honor (posthumously, March 1943)
Legion of Merit (posthumously, Sept 1943)
Purple Heart (posthumously, January 5, 1943)
|Medal of Honor (G.O. No.: 13, 11 March 1943) Posthumous
Citation: "For conspicuous leadership above and beyond the call of duty involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. As commander of the 5th Bomber Command during the period from 5 September 1942, to 5 January 1943, Brig. Gen. Walker repeatedly accompanied his units on bombing missions deep into enemy-held territory. From the lessons personally gained under combat conditions, he developed a highly efficient technique for bombing when opposed by enemy fighter airplanes and by antiaircraft fire. On 5 January 1943, in the face of extremely heavy antiaircraft fire and determined opposition by enemy fighters, he led an effective daylight bombing attack against shipping in the harbor at Rabaul, New Britain, which resulted in direct hits on 9 enemy vessels. During this action his airplane was disabled and forced down by the attack of an overwhelming number of enemy fighters."