|Birth name||Edwin Anderson Walker|
|Born||November 10, 1909|
Kerr County, Texas, U.S.
|Died||October 31, 1993 (aged 83)|
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1931-1961|
|Commands held||24th Infantry Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)
Edwin Anderson Walker (November 10, 1909 - October 31, 1993) -- known as Ted Walker -- was a United States Army officer who served in World War II and the Korean War. He became known for his staunch conservative political opinions and was criticized by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower for promoting a personal political opinion while in uniform. Walker resigned his commission during 1959, but Eisenhower refused to accept his resignation and gave Walker a new command of the 24th Infantry Division in Augsburg, Germany. Walker again resigned his commission during 1961 after being publicly and formally admonished by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for allegedly referring to Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman as "pink" in print and for violating the Hatch Act of 1939 by attempting to influence the votes of his troops. President John F. Kennedy accepted his resignation, making Walker the only US general to resign during the 20th century.
During early 1962, Walker campaigned for Governor of Texas and lost the Democratic primary election to the eventual winner, John Connally. During October 1962, Walker was arrested for promoting riots at the University of Mississippi in protest against admitting a black student, James Meredith, into the all-white university. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered Walker committed to a mental asylum for a 90-day evaluation in response to his role in the Ole Miss riot of 1962, but psychiatrist Thomas Szasz protested and Walker was released in five days. Attorney Robert Morris convinced a Mississippi grand jury not to indict Walker.
Walker was the target of an assassination attempt in his home on April 10, 1963, but escaped serious injury by the attack when a bullet fired from outside hit a window frame and fragmented. After its investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Warren Commission concluded that Walker's assailant had been Lee Harvey Oswald.
Walker was born in Texas in Kerr County in the community of Center Point, in the Texas Hill Country. He graduated during 1927 from the New Mexico Military Institute. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1931.
Walker's experience was as an artilleryman, but during World War II, he commanded a sub-unit of the Canadian-American First Special Service Force. Walker began command of one of the force's three regiments while still in the United States, and commanded the 3rd Regiment throughout its time in Italy. Their first combat actions began during December 1943, and after battling through the Winter Line, the Force was withdrawn for redeployment to the Anzio beachhead during early 1944. After the fight for Rome during June 1944, the force was withdrawn again to prepare for Operation Dragoon. During August 1944, Walker succeeded Robert T. Frederick as the unit's second, and last, commanding officer. The FSSF landed on the Islands of Hyeres off of the French Riviera during the autumn of 1944, defeating a strong German garrison. Walker commanded the FSSF when it was disbanded during early 1945.
Next Walker was assigned as commander of the Arkansas Military District in Little Rock, Arkansas. During his years in Arkansas, he implemented an order from President Eisenhower during 1957 to quell civil disturbances during the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School. Osro Cobb, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, recalls that Walker
"made it clear from the outset ... that he would do any and everything necessary to see that the black students attended Central High School as ordered by the federal court... he would arrange protection for them and their families, if necessary, and also supervise their transportation to and from the school for their safety."
During that time, Walker repeatedly protested to President Eisenhower that using Federal troops to enforce racial integration was against his conscience. Although he obeyed orders and successfully integrated Little Rock High School, he began listening to segregationist preacher Billy James Hargis and oil tycoon H. L. Hunt, whose anti-communist radio program Life Line was funded by conservative activist and publisher Dan Smoot. Anti-Communist activists (during 1957-1959) claimed that Communists controlled important parts of the U.S. government and the United Nations; some Soviet spies and agents occupied prominent jobs within the U.S. Federal government, e.g. some of the Silvermaster group.
During 1959, Walker met publisher Robert Welch. Welch founded the John Birch Society to promote his anti-communist opinions, one of which was that President Eisenhower was a communist. This assertion surprised General Walker because it coincided with the segregationist argument of Reverend Billy James Hargis that the Civil Rights Movement was a communist plot.
On August 4, 1959, Walker submitted his resignation to the U.S. Army. President Eisenhower denied Walker's request for resignation and offered him command over more than 10,000 troops in Augsburg, Germany, specifically the 24th Infantry Division. Walker accepted that command. He began promoting his "Pro-Blue" indoctrination program for troops, which included a reading list of materials from Billy James Hargis and the John Birch Society.
The name "Pro-Blue," said Walker, was intended to suggest "anti-Red." He later wrote that the Pro-Blue program was based upon his experiences in Korea, where he saw "hastily mobilized and deployed soldiers 'bug out' in the face of Communist units with inferior equipment and often smaller numbers. American soldiers, unprepared for the psychological battlefield, needed to know why they had to beat the enemy as well as the how."
Promoting the Pro-Blue program brought Walker into conflict with the Overseas Weekly, a tabloid newspaper. On April 16, 1961, the Overseas Weekly published an article accusing Walker of indoctrinating his troops with John Birch Society materials.
Because the John Birch Society regularly claimed that all U.S. presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt onward had been communists, its opinions were considered too controversial politically for a U.S. general to advocate; military officers were not supposed to engage in politics at all. Walker was quoted by the Overseas Weekly as saying that Harry S. Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Secretary of State Dean Acheson were "definitely pink." Additionally, a number of soldiers had complained that Walker was instructing them how to vote in the forthcoming American election by using the Conservative Voting Index, which was biased toward the Republican Party. According to Walker, his alleged instruction to soldiers as how to vote would later be disproved. The allegation was based on an article in the division newspaper that provided information as to how to fill out absentee ballots.
The day after the Overseas Weekly story was published, Walker was relieved of his command by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, while an inquiry was conducted. During October, Walker was reassigned to Hawaii to become assistant chief of staff for training and operations in the Pacific region.
Walker chose to resign from the Army a second time. The Secretary of the Army chose to admonish the officer, a less severe punishment than a reprimand and one which Walker could not appeal. The Secretary also stated that Walker would not be permitted to command VIII Corps, as the President had withdrawn his name for promotion. In protest, Walker, preferring political activism to his 30-year military career, did not retire but resigned, thereby forfeiting his pension. This time, President Kennedy accepted his resignation.
Walker said: "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."
During December 1961, as a civilian, Walker began a career of political speeches along with Hargis. Walker enjoyed enthusiastic crowds all over the United States. His message of anti-communism was popular. He also promoted the McCarthyist belief that communists were inside the United States government. Walker's home base was Dallas, Texas, considered a conservative city. Walker received considerable assistance from the citizens of Dallas, in particular from oil billionaire, publisher and radio host H. L. Hunt, who assisted Walker's first election campaign for governor of Texas. A Newsweek cover proclaimed Walker the public face of the anti-communist conservative movement.
During February 1962, Walker began the campaign, but finished last among six candidates in a Democratic primary election. It was won in a runoff election by John B. Connally, Jr., the choice of Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Other contenders were the Governor Price Daniel, Highway Commissioner Marshall Formby of Plainview, Attorney General of Texas Will Wilson, and Houston lawyer Don Yarborough, the favorite of liberals and organized labor. Due to disfranchisement of minorities in Texas since the beginning of the century, the Democratic Party primaries were the only strongly competitive political contests in the state at that time. In the course of his campaign, Walker assaulted journalist Thomas V. Kelly (father of The New York Times editor Michael Kelly), who asked him for a response to praise of Walker made by American Nazi Party leader George Lincoln Rockwell; Walker's response was to strike Kelly in the left eye. This assault was widely reported in press headlines.
Though Walker had obeyed orders in achieving desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, he acted privately in organizing protests during September 1962 against the enrollment of James Meredith, an African-American veteran, at the all-caucasian University of Mississippi at Oxford, Mississippi.
On September 26, 1962, Walker broadcast this message by several radio stations:
Mississippi: It is time to move. We have talked, listened and been pushed around far too much by the anti-Christ Supreme Court! Rise...to a stand beside Governor Ross Barnett at Jackson, Mississippi! Now is the time to be heard! Thousands strong from every State in the Union! Rally to the cause of freedom! The Battle Cry of the Republic! Barnett yes! Castro no! Bring your flag, your tent and your skillet. It's now or never! The time is when the President of the United States commits or uses any troops, Federal or State, in Mississippi! The last time in such a situation I was on the wrong side. That was in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957-1958. This time -- out of uniform -- I am on the right side! I will be there! 
On September 29, 1962, he issued a televised statement:
This is Edwin A. Walker. I am in Mississippi beside Governor 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.
White segregationists from around the state joined students and locals in a violent, 15-hour riot on the campus on September 30, in which two people were killed execution style, hundreds were wounded, and six federal marshals were shot. Walker was arrested on four federal charges, including sedition and insurrection against the United States. He was temporarily detained in a mental institution on orders from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Kennedy demanded that Walker receive a 90-day psychiatric examination.
The attorney general's decision was challenged by noted psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, who insisted that psychiatry must never become used for political rivalry. The American Civil Liberties Union joined Szasz in a protest against the attorney general, completing this coalition of liberal and conservative leaders. The attorney general had to relent, and Walker spent only five days in the asylum.
Walker posted bond and returned home to Dallas, where he was greeted by a crowd of some two hundred devotees. After a federal grand jury adjourned during January 1963 without indicting him, the charges were dismissed. Because the dismissal of the charges was without prejudice, the charges could have been reinstated within five years.
During February 1963, Walker joined Billy Hargis in an anti-communist tour named "Operation Midnight Ride". In a speech Walker made on March 5, reported in the Dallas Times Herald, he called on the United States military to "liquidate the [communist] scourge that has descended upon the island of Cuba." Seven days later, Lee Harvey Oswald ordered by mail a Carcano rifle, using the alias "A. Hidell."
According to the Warren Commission, Oswald began to put Walker under surveillance, photographing the general's Dallas home on the weekend of March 9-10. Oswald's friend, 51-year-old Russian émigré and petroleum geologist George de Mohrenschildt, would later tell the Warren Commission that he "knew that Oswald disliked General Walker".
On April 10, 1963, as Walker was sitting at a desk in his dining room, a bullet struck the wooden frame of his dining room window. Walker was injured in the forearm by fragments. Marina Oswald later testified that her husband told her that he traveled by bus to General Walker's house and shot at Walker with his rifle. Marina said that Oswald considered Walker to be the leader of a "fascist organization".
Before the Kennedy assassination, the Dallas police did not have any suspects for the Walker shooting, but Oswald's involvement was suspected within hours of his arrest after the assassination. A note Oswald left for Marina on the night of the attempt, telling her what to do if he did not return, was not found until ten days after the Kennedy assassination. The bullet was too badly damaged to provide conclusive ballistics tests, but neutron activation analysis tests later determined that it was "extremely likely" the bullet was a Carcano bullet manufactured by the Western Cartridge Company, the same ammunition used in the Kennedy assassination.
Police Detective D. E. McElroy commented, "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?"
On November 29, 1963, one week following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, an article appeared in an extreme-right German newspaper, Deutsche National-Zeitung that accused reputed Kennedy assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, of having committed the attack on Walker. Oswald's widow, Marina Oswald, was asked about the report during a two-week-long detention for interrogation by federal investigators, and she said she believed the report was true. There is some question among skeptics of the Warren Commission's investigation into the Kennedy assassination, about how a European newspaper with no significant presence in the United States was able to receive information about a rather obscure crime that occurred on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. By the time the connection between Oswald and Walker came to light, however, Oswald had died while in police custody, so no charges were ever filed for the crime.
Walker organized a verbal attack in Dallas, Texas, on Adlai Stevenson, US Ambassador to the United Nations, on "UN Day," October 24, 1963. During mid-October 1963, Walker rented the same Dallas Memorial Auditorium in which Stevenson would speak. He advertised his opposing event as "US Day" and he invited members of the John Birch Society, the National Indignation Convention, the Minutemen and other organizations opposed to communism and the United Nations.
On the night before Stevenson's speech, Walker had his "US Day" rally and instructed his audience to "buy all the tickets" they could afford to the Stevenson speech, and to fill the auditorium. Walker instructed his audience to heckle Stevenson, bring Halloween noisemakers, and recite their own speeches in the hallways in order to disrupt Stevenson's speech in any way that they could.
Walker also told his devotees to fix a banner to the ceiling, to be unfurled at the appropriate moment. It was to be printed with "US out of UN!," and on the other side, "UN out of US!" Walker did not attend Stevenson's speech, nor did he take credit for the orchestration. The audience was so disruptive that Stevenson quit speaking before finishing his presentation and went quickly out to his limousine. On his way, a protester spat at him and one struck him in the head with her placard. Both were arrested. Walker was not charged, although his role was well known at the time.
The verbal attacks on Stevenson on October 24, 1963 were traced to plans organized by Walker and his devotees among the John Birch Society, according to the November issue of the magazine Texas Observer. One month later, the black-bordered advertisement and the "Wanted for Treason: JFK" handbills of November 22, 1963, appeared on the streets of Dallas. They were traced to Walker and his associate Robert Surrey by the Warren Commission. After President Kennedy's assassination, Walker wrote and spoke publicly about his belief that there were two assassins at the "April Crime" - Oswald and another person that was never found.
Immediately after the Warren Commission released their report during September 1964, Walker described it as a "farcical whitewash". Although he accepted their finding that it was Oswald who shot at him the previous year, Walker claimed that the Commission was attempting to hide "some sort of conspiracy" that included an association between Jack Ruby and Oswald.
Angered by negative publicity, Walker began to file libel lawsuits against various media outlets. One suit responded to negative coverage of his role in the riot at the University of Mississippi protesting Meredith's admission. The Associated Press reported that Walker had "led a charge of students against federal marshals" and that he had "assumed command of the crowd." Several newspapers were named in the lawsuit. If Walker and his lawyers were successful, he could have won tens of millions of dollars.
The Associated Press appealed the decision, as Associated Press v. Walker, eventually to the United States Supreme Court. During 1967, the Supreme Court ruled against Walker, finding 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 malice, extended this to public figures as well.
By resigning instead of retiring, Walker was ineligible for an army pension. He made statements at the time to the Dallas Morning News that he had "refused" his pension. However, he had made several previous requests for his pension dating back to 1973. The army restored his pension rights during 1982.
Walker, then 66, was arrested on June 23, 1976, for public lewdness in a restroom at a Dallas park. He was accused of fondling and propositioning a male undercover police officer. He was arrested again in Dallas for public lewdness on March 16, 1977. He pleaded no contest to one of the two misdemeanor charges, was given a suspended 30-day jail sentence and fined $1,000.
|Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster|
|Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and "V" Device|
|Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster|
|American Defense Service Medal|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five service stars|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|Army of Occupation Medal|
|Korean Service Medal with four service stars|
|National Defense Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster|
|French Croix de guerre 1939-1945 with Palm|
|Order of the British Empire|
|Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation|
|United Nations Korea Medal|