Walter Edward Rafert – Colonel, United States Army

Information And Photo Supplied By His Loving Daughter, Linda Rafert Yoakam: October 2006

Colonel, USA


Colonel Rafert had a distinguished career in the 0rdnance Corps of the United States Army for 27 years.

The Colonel was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Walter C. Rafert, Corporal, United States Marine Corps, World War I and Edna Bleck Rafert. After his father’s early death, he was raised with his sister, Edna Jean Rafert (Meek) by their mother and step-father, Louis William Schmidt, Chief Petty Officer, United States Navy, World War I and World War II.

The Colonel's education began in Lutheran schools with church service and music remaining important components throughout his life. His interest in things military began due to the military background of each of  his fathers.

His first military uniform appearance began with ROTC at Emmerich Manual Training High School and his ROTC activities continued at Purdue University. Upon graduation, he was assigned to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, where he received his commission as Second Lieutenant in 1944.

The remaining years of World War II were spent at Schofield Barracks, Honolulu, Hawaii. While serving in the U.S. Army, he received his MSME and the Degree of Engineer from Stanford University, attended the Personnel Management for Executives course, Command and General Staff College, USAW Counterinsurgency, and the Army War College.

His overseas assignments included Taiwan and London, England. He also served as an instructor in the 0rdnance Department at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.  While stationed there, he co-authored an ordnance textbook with Colonel J. Billingsley.  He served on the General Staff at the Pentagon and returned to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, as Commanding Officer of the United States Army Small Arms Systems Agency.

His decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Unit Citation, two Overseas Bars, National Defense Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, General Staff Identification Badge, the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster.  He was also a member of the Purdue ROTC Hall of Fame. He retired from the Army in 1970.

After his retirement, he obtained his Professional Engineer credentials and continued his work in Research and Development at the Headquarters of the U. S. Army Weapons Command at Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, Illinois.  Eventually he became the Supervisory General Engineer for the Arsenal.

Colonel Rafert He died August 12, 1977, at the age of 55  at Rock Island, Illinois as a result of complications from pancreatic cancer.  He was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 60, Grave 3583.

He was married July 26, 1947, to Margaret Dorothy Speicher in Indianapolis, Indiana, and became the loving father of Sue Ann (Mayo), Linda Jane (Yoakam),  and Portia Lynn (Lemkau). His legacy includes five grandchildren whom he would have loved immensely. His engineering legacy continues with one grandchild who also chose to become an engineer.

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment