Walker, Walton Harris (1889–1950)

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 1, 1995

Walton Harris Walker, army officer, son of Sam Sims and May Lydia (Harris) Walker, was born on December 3, 1889, at Belton, Texas. He attended Wedemeyer Military Academy in Belton and Virginia Military Institute, and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1912. Walker served in the Vera Cruz expedition in Mexico in 1914 and during World War I saw service in France at St. Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne. He was with the Army of Occupation in Germany until 1919. A regular army officer, Walker had attained the rank of major general by World War II. As commander of the IV Armored Corps and XX Corps, he was given special commendations for his military abilities in the European Theatre of Operations by Gen. George S. Patton. Walker was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and in 1948 was made commanding general of the United States Eighth Army in Japan. With the Communist invasion of South Korea on June 28, 1950, the Eighth Army under Walker was directed to stop the invasion. Under Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Walker was made commander of United Nations forces in Korea, a position he held until he was killed in a jeep accident on December 23, 1950. His merits as a commander in Korea have been questioned by historians. Often characterized as a tenacious and competent "fighter," Walker has, however, been criticized for his underestimation of the North Korean army, for his reluctance to relieve incompetent commanders, and for his unwillingness to express disagreement with MacArthur on matters of strategy. Walker married Caroline Victoria Emerson in 1924; they had one son, Sam Walker, who followed his father into the army and retired as a four-star general. Walton Walker held seventeen military decorations, among them the Order of the War for the Fatherland and the Medal of Russian Guards Army. Before burial in Arlington National Cemetery, he was promoted to the rank of full general.

Clay Blair, The Forgotten War (New York: Random House, 1987). New York Times, December 24, 1950. Who's Who in America, 1946–47.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Walker, Walton Harris,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 18, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/walker-walton-harris.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995