Thomas E "Tom" Walker

Thomas E "Tom" Walker

April 09, 1936 - March 22, 2024


Colonel (Ret.) Thomas (Tom) E. Walker, a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, passed away March 22, 2024 at the age of 87 years. Tom resided in Apache Junction, Arizona with his late wife Connie.

Tom was born on April 9, 1936, in San Francisco, California, the son of the late Forrest and Eleanor Walker. He is survived by his sister Patti; children: Patti (Greg), Debbi (Bob, deceased), Tom (Laura) and Scott (Laura); grandchildren: Luke, Lauren (Eric), Jacob, Tyler, Jonathan, Crystin (Mitchell), Dana (Lucas), Chad, Jenna (Mykol) and Jeremiah; and great grandchildren: Jaime, Justin, Aspyn, Lila, Everly, August, Marigold and Mykol Paul.

After graduating from Downey High School in 1954, Tom enlisted in the United States Navy reserves for two years while attending Modesto Jr. College. However, his path took a significant turn when he discovered the opportunity offered by the United States Air Force Aviation Cadet Program. Realizing he could become a pilot and an officer, he seized the chance. He tested and passed the entrance examination and joined the United States Air Force Aviation Cadet Corp at Lackland AFB, Texas, preflight (boot camp) on May 15, 1956.

In September of 1956 he was sent to Graham AFB, Florida, for primary pilot training, a year and a half later was transferred to Bryan AFB, Texas for basic jet flight training. He was assigned to McConnell AFB, Kansas, to begin training as a co-pilot in B-47’s for five months, off to Stead AFB for advanced survival training and then reported to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, for upgraded B-47 co-pilot training. After completion of training at Little Rock AFB, he did two short years at Lake Charles AFB, Louisiana, as a co-pilot for B-47’s.

After Lake Charles, he was transferred to Carswell AFB, Texas, and there he was a co-pilot in B-52’s for the next four years. In the summer of 1964, he transferred to Mather AFB, California, to fly T-29’s as an aircraft commander. While stationed at Mather AFB, for a year and a half he received orders for Vietnam as a pilot for C-123’s. As a dedicated pilot for C-123s, he played a vital role in crucial missions during one of the most challenging periods in our nation’s history.  Following his return from Vietnam, he was deployed to Laredo AFB, Texas. Three months later he attended instructor pilot school at Perrin AFB, Texas, graduated and returned back to Laredo AFB as a flight commander, where he piloted and instructed in the T-37’s.

In 1970, he was sent to Randolph AFB, Texas, and there he flew as an instructor and flight examiner in the T-39 Sabreliner. After three years as a commanding officer and instructor pilot our family was transferred to Zweibrucken AFB, West Germany. For five years he was a commanding officer of the Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Upon returning back from overseas he was stationed at the Pentagon with the Assistant Chief Aircraft and Missile Programs Division for a year. This assignment took him to Williams AFB, Arizona as the Deputy Commander for Aircraft Maintenance. He held this job for eighteen months before deciding to retire in April of 1981.

In addition to his remarkable service, Tom was the recipient of numerous awards and commendations, reflecting his outstanding contributions and achievements. Among his many accolades, he was a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with 2 bronze oak leaf clusters, Air medal with 1 silver and 3 bronze oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, Air Force Longevity Award with 1 silver oak Leaf cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 3 bronze service stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with 3 bronze oak leaf clusters and an Air Force Outhandling Unit Award with valor.

After retiring from the Air Force, Tom pursued a new chapter in his life, operating a successful real estate business and in his free time had a knack for landscaping. He found enjoyment in creating beauty from nature, whether it was constructing rock formations, building waterfalls, or crafting beautiful floor overlays to perfection. He was happiest and most at peace, flying straight down a mountain on skis, his lifelong passion and skill since he was four years old.

Tom’s passing has broken the hearts of many, but they, his family and friends find solace in knowing that he is now in the company of his wife, Connie, our beautiful mommy, together forever in Heaven.

Funeral Services with full military honors will be at 11:00 AM on Monday, April 29, 2024, at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N Cave Creek Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85024.

Funeral Service

  • Date & Time: April 29, 2024 (11:00 AM)
  • Venue: National Memorial Cemetery Of Arizona
  • Location: 23029 N Cave Creek Rd Phoenix, 85024 - (Get Directions)

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2 responses to Thomas E "Tom" Walker

  1. Prayers and condolences to the entire Walker family during these challenging days. Col. Tom Walker was a very close friend of my Dad and our family and we will always remember Tom fondly as a tough, patriotic, and intelligent man. We were lucky to have the Walkers as friends and neighbors at multiple duty stations during our Dad’s military days. Col. Walker will be missed dearly.

  2. Mary L says:

    Hi. It’s Mary Lambries. Just wanted to say that I am sorry to hear the news about Tom. I do wish I could attend the service being held for him, but am not in a position to do so. I hope all goes well with it, and for all of you as you mourn this loss.

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