John Denley Walker, 81, a retired CIA operations officer and highly decorated World War II Navy aviator who won a Navy Cross in combat operations against the Japanese, died of cancer October 1, 2002, at his home in Washington.
As an officer of the CIA, Mr. Walker's work included operations overseas. His postings included France, Malta, Israel and Australia. He had dealings with such world leaders as Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, David Ben-Gurion and Jawaharlal Nehru. He advised U.S. ambassadors on political, military and economic affairs.
As a Navy aviator, he flew dozens of combat missions, serving aboard the aircraft carriers Belleau Wood and Bennington in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. He won a Navy Cross, the Navy's highest award for valor after the Medal of Honor, as pilot of a torpedo bomber attached to The Bennington.
Against an enemy task force off the coast of Japan in April 1945, he flew through “an intense barrage of antiaircraft fire” to make a torpedo hit on the cruiser Ahagi, which contributed materially to [its] . . . subsequent sinking,” according to the citation that accompanied the award.
Mr. Walker's other war decorations included four awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, twoPurple Hearts and eight Air Medals.
Family members said that Mr. Walker seldom spoke of his war experiences, saying only that they were “the things my generation did.”
Mr. Walker was born in Petersburg, Virginia, attended Episcopal High School in Alexandria and graduated from the University of North Carolina. He did graduate work in political science at the University of Pennsylvania.
In 1948, he joined the Paris office of the Marshall Plan for the postwar economic rehabilitation of Europe, where he was assistant director of the European labor division. Later, he helped create a format for technical assistance that was incorporated into the foreign aid program. From 1952 until 1978, he was a CIA officer. His last assignment was as a liaison officer between the agency and a House of Representatives committee investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
On retiring from federal service, Mr. Walker was executive director of the English Speaking Union, which promotes improvement of Anglo-American relations. He was a consultant to government agencies, and he headed the Center for Security Studies.
He was a member of the University, Chevy Chase and Federal City clubs, as well as the Society of the Cincinatti.
His marriage to Diana Taylor ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Helen Hoogerwerff Walker, whom he married in 1981, of Washington; three children from his first marriage, Diana Walker of Sydney, Australia, John Walker of Douglas, Tex., and Joseph Walker of Houston; three stepchildren, Saskia Roskam and Hugo Roskam, both of Amsterdam, and Frederick Schaedtler of Washington; a sister; and two grandsons.
November 10, 2002, Sunday
WALKER – John Denley. Died on October 1st, 2002, at his home in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., of ancer. A highly decorated World War II aviator, a distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service and C.I.A. from 1952 to 1978 with assignments in France, Malta, Australia and Israel, and Executive Director of the English Speaking Union based in New York, a man with a ”realist's view of world affairs.”
A memorial service will be held on November 14 at 11 A.M. at Arlington
National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either: The John D. Walker Surgical Research Fund, Department of Surgery, attention Dr. John Kirkpatrick, Washington Hospital Center, 110 Irving St. N.W., Room NAG 253, Washington, D.C., 20010; or Christ Church Georgetown, 31st and O Street, Washington, D.C., 20007.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard