Edwin Walker

Edwin Walker

Infobox Military Person
name= Edwin Anderson Walker
born= birth date|1909|11|10
died= death date and age|1993|10|31|1909|11|10
placeofbirth=Center Point, Texas

caption= Colonel Edwin A. Walker
allegiance=United States of America
branch=United States Army
rank= Major General
commands= 24th Infantry Division
battles= World War II Korean War

Major General Edwin Anderson Walker (November 10, 1909 – October 31, 1993) of the U.S. Army was known for his right wing political views and for being a target of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Early life and military career

Edwin "Ted" Walker was born in Center Point, Texas and graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1927. He then attended the United States Military Academy, where he graduated in 1931. [Handbook of Texas: [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/CC/hlc17.html "Center Point, Texas."] Retrieved March 16, 2007.] During World War II, Walker commanded a subunit of the Canadian-American First Special Service Force in the invasion of Anzio, Italy in January 1944. In August 1944, Walker succeeded Robert T. Frederick as the unit's commanding officer. The FSSF landed on the Hyeres Islands off of the French Riviera, taking out a strong German garrison.

Walker again saw combat in the Korean War, commanding the Third Infantry Division's Seventh Infantry and was senior advisor to the First Korean Corps. He next became the commander of the Arkansas Military district in Little Rock, Arkansas. During his years in Arkansas, he implemented an order from President Eisenhower in 1957 to quell civil disturbances during the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock.

In 1959, General Walker was sent to Germany to command the 24th Infantry Division. In 1961, however, he became involved in controversy. Walker initiated an anti-communist indoctrination program for troops called "Pro Blue" (due to Free World troops being coloured blue on maps) [p. 105 Schoenwald, Jonathan M. "A Time for Choosing: The Rise of American Conservatism" Oxford University Press 2001] and was accused of distributing right-wing literature from the John Birch Society to the soldiers of his division. He was also quoted by a newspaper, the "Overseas Weekly", as saying that Harry S. Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dean Acheson were "definitely pink", a slang term for communist sympathies. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara relieved Walker of his command, while an inquiry was conducted, and in October Walker was reassigned to Hawaii to become assistant chief of staff for training and operations in the Pacific. Instead, Walker resigned from the Army on November 2, 1961. Said Walker: "It will be my purpose now, as a civilian, to attempt to do what I have found it no longer possible to do in uniform." [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,938238,00.html I Must Be Free . . .] ," "Time", Nov. 10, 1961.]

In February 1962, Walker entered the race for Governor of Texas, but finished last among six candidates in a Democratic primary election in May that was won by John Connally. [ [http://www.texasalmanac.com/politics/gubernatorial.pdf Elections of Texas Governors, 1845–2006] .]

Walker organized protests in September 1962 against the use of federal troops to enforce the enrollment of African-American James Meredith at the racially segregated University of Mississippi. His public statement on September 29:

This is Edwin A. Walker. I am in Mississippi beside Gov. Ross Barnett. I call for a national protest against the conspiracy from within.

Rally to the cause of freedom in righteous indignation, violent vocal protest, and bitter silence under the flag of Mississippi at the use of Federal troops.

This today is a disgrace to the nation in 'dire peril,' a disgrace beyond the capacity of anyone except its enemies. This is the conspiracy of the crucifixion by anti-Christ conspirators of the Supreme Court in their denial of prayer and their betrayal of a nation. ["Walker Demands a 'Vocal Protest,'" "New York Times", Sept. 30, 1962, p. 69.]

After a violent, 15-hour riot broke out on the campus, on September 30, in which two people were killed and six federal marshals were shot, Walker was arrested on four federal charges, including insurrection against the United States. Walker posted bond and returned home to Dallas, where he was greeted by a crowd of 200 supporters. ["Crowd Welcomes Ex-Gen. Walker's Return to Dallas," "Dallas Morning News", Oct. 8, 1962, sec. 1, p. 1.] After a federal grand jury adjourned in January 1963 without indicting him, the charges were dropped. Because the dismissal of the charges was without prejudice, the charges could have been reinstated within five years. [ [http://textfiles.com/conspiracy/walker.txt The Strange Case of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker] .]

Assassination attempt

It was around this time that Walker got Lee Harvey Oswald's attention. Oswald, a self-proclaimed Marxist, [ [http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/russ/jfkinfo3/exhibits/stuck3.htm Radio debate] between Oswald and anti-Castro activists Ed Butler and Carlos Bringuier at station WDSU in New Orleans, August 211963.] considered Walker a "fascist" and the leader of a "fascist organization." [Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 1, p. 16, [http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh1/html/WC_Vol1_0014b.htm Testimony of Mrs. Lee Harvey Oswald] .] A front page story on Walker in the October 71962, issue of the "Worker", a Communist Party newspaper to which Oswald subscribed, warned "the Kennedy administration and the American people of the need for action against [Walker] and his allies." On October 8, Oswald quit his job and moved to Dallas, with no explanation. Five days after the front page news that Walker's federal charges had been dropped, ["Judge Dismisses Walker Charges," "Dallas Morning News", January 221963, sec. 1, p. 1.] Oswald ordered a revolver by mail, using the alias "A.J. Hidell." [Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 16, p. 511, CE 135, [http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh16/html/WH_Vol16_0268a.htm Mail-order coupon in name of A.J. Hidell] .]

In February 1963, Walker was making news by joining forces with evangelist Billy James Hargis in an anti-communist tour called "Operation Midnight Ride". ["Hargis Says Walker Will Join in Tour," "Dallas Morning News", Feb. 14, 1963, sec. 1, p. 16. "Walker Preparing for Crusade," "Dallas Morning News", Feb. 17, 1963, sec. 1, p. 16. "Pickets Protest Talks Given by Hargis, Walker," "Dallas Morning News", March 28, 1963, sec. 4, p. 18.] In a speech Walker made on March 5, reported in the "Dallas Times Herald", he called on the United States military to "liquidate the scourge that has descended upon the island of Cuba." ["Dallas Times Herald", March 6, 1963.] Seven days later, Oswald ordered by mail a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, using the alias "A. Hidell." [Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 17, p. 635, CE 773, [http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh17/html/WH_Vol17_0331a.htm Photograph of a mail order for a rifle in the name "A. Hidell," and the envelope in which the order was sent] .]

Oswald began to put Walker under surveillance, taking pictures of Walker's Dallas home on the weekend of March 9–10. [Construction work seen in one of the photos was determined by the supervisor to have been in that state of completion on March 9–10. Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 22, p. 585, CE 1351, [http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh22/html/WH_Vol22_0308a.htm FBI Report, Dallas, Tex., dated May 22, 1964, reflecting investigation concerning photographs of the residence of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker] .] He planned the assassination for April 10, ten days after he was fired from the photography firm where he worked. He told his wife later that he chose a Wednesday evening because the neighborhood would be relatively crowded because of services in a church adjacent to Walker's home; he would not stand out and could mingle with the crowds if necessary to make his escape. He left a note in Russian for his wife Marina with instructions should he be caught. [ [http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/walkernote1.jpgA photocopy of Oswald's note, in Russian.] Retrieved March 16, 2007.] Walker was sitting at a desk in his dining room when Oswald fired at him from less than a hundred feet (30 m) away. Walker survived only because the bullet struck the wooden frame of the window, which deflected its path. However, he was injured in the forearm by fragments.

At the time, authorities had no idea who attempted to kill Walker. A police detective, D.E. McElroy, commented that "Whoever shot at the general was playing for keeps. The sniper wasn't trying to scare him. He was shooting to kill."

Marina Oswald stated later that she had seen Oswald burn most of his plans in the bathtub, though she hid the note he left her in a cookbook, with the intention of bringing it to the police should Oswald again attempt to kill Walker or anyone else. Marina later quoted her husband as saying, "Well, what would you say if somebody got rid of Hitler at the right time? So if you don't know about General Walker, how can you speak up on his behalf?" [ [http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/hsca/reportvols/vol2/html/HSCA_Vol2_0118b.htm Testimony of Marina Oswald Porter] , HSCA Hearings, vol. II, p. 232.] Oswald's involvement was unknown until early December 1963, when the note and some of the photos were found by the authorities following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The bullet was too badly damaged to run conclusive ballistics tests, but neutron activation tests later determined that it was "extremely likely" the bullet was a Mannlicher-Carcano bullet manufactured by the Western Cartridge Company, the same ammunition used in the Kennedy assassination. [ [http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/hsca/reportvols/vol2/html/HSCA_Vol2_0118b.htm Testimony of Dr. Vincent P. Guinn] , HSCA Hearings, vol. I, p. 502.]

Oswald later wrote to Arnold Johnson of the Communist Party, U.S.A., that on the evening of October 231963 he had attended an "ultra right" meeting headed by Gen. Edwin A. Walker. [Warren Commission Hearings, vol. 20, p. 271, [http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/wc/wcvols/wh20/html/WH_Vol20_0146a.htm Undated letter from Lee Harvey Oswald to Arnold S. Johnson, with envelope postmarked November 1, 1963] . "Rally Talk Scheduled by Walker," "Dallas Morning News", October 231963, sec. 1, p. 7. "Walker Says U.S. Main Battleground," "Dallas Morning News", October 241963, sec. 4, p. 1.]

Associated Press v. Walker

Angered by negative publicity he was receiving for his conservative political views, Walker began to file libel lawsuits against various media outlets. One of these suits, titled "Associated Press v. Walker", was in response to press coverage of his participation in the University of Mississippi riot, specifically that he had "led a charge of students against federal marshals" and that he had "assumed command of the crowd." ["Associated Press v. Walker", 393 S.W.2d 671, 674 (1965).] The trial court found the statements false and defamatory. The decision was appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court, ["Associated Press v. Walker", 389 U.S. 28 (1967).] but the Court ruled against Walker and found that although the statements may have been false, the Associated Press was not guilty of reckless disregard in their reporting about Walker. The Court, which had previously said that public officials could not recover damages unless they could prove actual malice, extended this to public figures as well.

Later life

By resigning instead of retiring, Walker was unable to draw a pension from the Army. He made statements at the time to the "Dallas Morning News" that he had "refused" to take his pension. The Army restored his pension rights in 1982. He had made several previous requests for his pension dating back to 1973. [Warren Weaver, Jr., "Pension Restored for Gen. Walker", "New York Times", July 24, 1983, p. 17.]

Walker, then 66, was arrested on June 23, 1976 for public lewdness in a restroom at a Dallas park and accused of fondling an undercover policeman. [ [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50B1FFE3F5A167493CBA9178CD85F428785F9 "General Walker Faces Sex Charge: Right-Wing Figure Accused in Dallas of Lewdness", United Press International, "New York Times", July 9, 1976, p. 84.] ] [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,914396-1,00.html Catch as Catch Can] ," "Time", July 26, 1976.] ["Trial for Walker Routinely Passed", "Dallas Morning News", September 15, 1976, p. D4.] He was arrested again in Dallas for public lewdness on March 16, 1977. ["Police Arrest Retired General for Lewdness," "Dallas Morning News", March 17, 1977, p. B18.] ["General Walker Free on Bond", "New York Times", March 18, 1977, p. 8.] He pled no contest to one of the two misdemeanor charges, was given a suspended, 30-day jail sentence, and fined $1,000. ["Judge Convicts, Fines Walker", "Dallas Morning News", May 23, 1977, p. A5.]

He died of lung disease at his home in Dallas in 1993. [Eric Pace, "Gen. Edwin Walker, 83, Is Dead; Promoted Rightist Causes in 60's", "New York Times", November 2, 1993, p. B-10.]


*Walker was cited as inspiration for the Air Force General James Mattoon Scott character in the film "Seven Days in May", although Walker himself is mentioned by name in the film.


External links

* [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKwalker.htm Edwin Walker biography page]
* [http://www.textfiles.com/conspiracy/walker.txt The Strange Case of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker]
* [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/WW/fwaaf.html The Handbook of Texas Online: Walker, Edwin A.]

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