Tim Leroy WaltersStaff Sergeant
AIR OPS, CCN, MACV-SOG, MACV
Army of the United States
24 February 1943 - 09 March 1969
South Bend, Indiana
Panel 30W Line 097
The database page for Tim Leroy Walters
SSG Tim Leroy Walters was adopted by Odessa, Ector County, Texas, as the MIA/POW for the Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans' Memorial located at Midland International Airport, Midland, Texas.
SSG Walters was from South Bend, Indiana, and spent his early years there. He was educated at Washington-Clay High School and graduated in 1961. He played football all four years while a student there. He atttended the University of Montana for two years and was a member of the Parachute Club. There he gained his interest in skydiving. He joined the U. S. Army in June 1964, trained at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and Fort Benning, Georgia. He became parachute qualified in the U. S. Army. He returned to serve with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He deployed to Vietnam with a brigade of the 101st in 1965. There he was to remain for the next three and 3/4 years.
He qualified Special Forces while in Vietnam through the MACV Recondo School. On March 9, 1969, he was the observer in an O-2A fixed wing aircraft on a combat support mission about 5 miles into Laos, west of the DMZ. The aircraft went down for unknown reasons. The pilot and SSG Walters both perished. A ground team was inserted into the area later that day and they reported both individuals were killed in the crash, however, hostile forces in the area prevented the team from extracting the bodies. They were able to extract maps, weapons and a camera from the aircraft, but left the remains behind.
SSG Walters' remains were positively identified on August 11, 1999 and his remains were buried in Miles, Michigan, next to a memorial to his uncle who ironically is Missing in Action from World War II.
May his sacrifice never be forgotten.
From a PBVVM representative,
REMEMBEREDby his sister,
Jenelle Walters Shadwick
Lest we forget.
"They shall not grow old as we that are left behind grow old:
I am proud to say that my father in-law was a personal friend of Tim Walters. John B. Lawson served with Tim Walters and had the honor of escorting his remains back home in 1999. My wife, son and I are proud of these men and men like them. We will NEVER forget the ultimate sacrifice made by Mr. Walters. God Bless Tim and God Bless Special Forces.
Greg and Kim Lawson Fernandez
Notes from The Virtual Wall
Staff Sergeant Tim Walters was assigned to the Air Operations Division, Command and Control North, MACV-SOG. As a part of his duties he routinely flew as an "observer" with Foward Air Controllers operating in support of MACV-SOG operations in Miltary Region 1 (the northern 5 provinces of South Vietnam and the adjacent areas of Laos). Before his last mission, SSG Walters had received several decorations - the Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and six Air Medals - for previous operations.
As noted above, on 09 March 1969 Walters was aboard an O-2A (tail number 67-21425) of the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron, flown by Captain Robert F. Rex of Odebolt, Iowa, when the aircraft went down just inside Laos. Although a ground force was inserted and confirmed that both men died in the crash, SSG Walters was classed Missing in Action while the Air Force classed Captain Rex as Killed in Action/Body not Recovered. In this context, one should note that SSG Walters was not assigned to an Army unit but rather to a Joint Command unit, a fact that might explain the difference in the way the two men were handled (MACV reported SSG Walters' loss, while 23rd TASS reported on Captain Rex). The Commanding General, Seventh Air Force, approved posthumous Silver Star awards for both men (Walters' second award), reflecting the Air Force's acceptance that both men had died in the crash. According to the Army's TAGCEN database, a Presumptive Finding of Death was approved by the Secretary of the Army on 07 August 1973.
Although the location of the wreckage was known, post-war arrangements with the Laotian government precluded any examination of the site until the late 1990s. When the site was visited, human remains were located, recovered, and repatriated on 16 Feb 1999. Fragmentary remains could be positively identified as those of Staff Sergeant Walters, but the government has not yet made any announcement regarding Captain Rex.
In 1943 fighter pilot Captain Harry Leroy Walters, SSG Walters' uncle, had been killed in action near Choiseul in the Solomon Islands, South Pacific; his body was not recovered. A memorial stone was placed in Silverbrook Cemetery, Niles, Michigan, in memory of Captain Walters. When SSG Walters' remains were recovered the family decided to bury him in Niles next to his uncle's memorial stone.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 17 Oct 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009