TIM LEROY WALTERS, STAFF SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Parachute Wings, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal with 2 Loops, Joint Services Commendation's Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Tim was born in South Bend, Indiana, the son of Marvin E. and Marylynn Walters, who lived in Ardmore, Indiana. He was later joined by a sister, Jenelle Lyn and a brother, Michael who died at birth.
The family moved to the Clay Township outside of South Bend and Tim attended Washington-Clay High School, where he graduated in 1961. While in high school, he played on the football team for four years. After high school, he attended the University of Montana for two and 1/2 years, finding adventure and excitement as a member of the parachute club.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army June 1, 1964 and completed basic training and infantry AIT at Fort Ord, California. He then completed parachute training at Fort Benning, Georgia and then was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He mobilized with the 101st to Vietnam in August, 1965 and completed his one year tour. It was at this time, that Tim was recruited for service with the SOG.
Jump School-Fort Benning-late 1964
Tim felt he belonged in Vietnam and kept extending his tour and he was assigned to the MAC-V Studies and Observation's Program beginning his second tour. This was a joint service high command unconventional warefare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. He received training in counter insurgency and received most of his training in country and through on the job training. A review of Tim's Department of the Army Form 20, Record of Assignments does not tell the story on what he did, while Tim's record was replete with assignments as postal clerk and publication's NCO, he was in fact operating in the top secret world of counterinsurgency and being the eyes and ears on these unconventional operations into Laos and Cambodia. Many of these operations were code named "Prairie Fire" or "Shining Brass." Tim would fly into these areas to provide communication and render what help was needed. His awards and decoration citations reflect the true nature of his work. Tim would remain in the assignment for the next 2 and 3/4 years.
While Tim was in Vietnam, his parents and his sister moved to Odessa, Texas where they opened the first two Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchises in the area. They eventually opened up a store in Midland as well. Tim spent several leaves in the Odessa area.
SSG Tim Leroy Walter's on Leave, Odessa, Texas-1968
Name: Tim Leroy Walters
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army
Unit:Special Operations Group - MACV
Date of Birth: 24 February 1943
Home City of Record:South Bend IN
Date of Loss: 09 March 1969
Country of Loss:Laos
Loss Coordinates: 165219N 1062548E (XD524658)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Robert F. Rex (missing)
SYNOPSIS:Captain Bob Rex and Army Staff Sergeant Tim L. Walters were the pilot and observer aboard an O2A aircraft (serial #67-21425) on a combat support mission when it crashed for unknown reasons about 5 miles into Laos west of the DMZ on March 9, 1969. Walters was from Special Operations Group, MACV. The O2A was a two-place observation plane which flew forward air control, marking targets, locating friendly troops, and directing air strikes.
At first, the enemy feared the presence of the small observation planes, knowing that they were able to bring in fighter planes. Later, however, it became more commonplace for any enemy group that believed it had been sighted to open fire and try to bring down the FAC and reduce the accuracy of the impending strike.
The crew of these small unarmed crafts had a dim hope of survival if hit because of their close proximity to the enemy and lack of ability to eject at high altitude and drift out of the area. The planes were light, however, and flew low, so survival was not out of the question. Additionally, the enemy developed weaponry that could knock out the engines only, allowing the plane to arrive on the ground with far less damage.
After Rex and Walters' aircraft crashed, another aircraft (call sign Knife 55), reported that the aircraft crashed at about 1150 hours. A ground team inspected the wreckage and reported that both the occupants were dead. However, hostile ground fire prevented them from recovering the remains. Two members of the ground team did not personally know SSgt. Walters, but stated that both individuals were positively dead. An aircraft engine was on top of the NCO (Walters). The ground team recovered the weapons, map case and camera from the aircraft, but because of hostile ground fire, left the remains behind.
Tim's remains were returned from Laos on February 16, 1999; they were positively identified using MCDNA on his teeth on August 11, 1999 and his remains were buried were buried with full military honors in a service on October 23, 1999 at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles, Michigan. He was laid to rest next to the memorial stone of his uncle, Captain Harry Leroy Walters. His uncle was Missing in Action from World War II and his remains were never recovered.
Tim's parents sold their stores in Odessa and Midland in the early 70's and retired to Mesa, Arizona where they continue to live. His sister married and she and her husband worked for Continental Airlines, where her husband was a pilot. They are now retired as well and live in Colorado.
Silverbrook Cemetery, Niles, Michigan