Walter came to MSU from Fort Collins, Colorado. While on campus he was in Delta Upsilon fraternity, served on the Interfraternity Council, played intramural sports and participated in the Army ROTC program.
“I played a lot of basketball at Hammons and ran on the indoor track there. I remember a lot of the games at Hammons under Coach (Charlie) Spoonhour. I attended some concerts, and did most of my classes in Cheek, Temple and Kemper halls. I lived two years in Freddy and spent time with the Army ROTC program in the basement. I have a whole lot of memories there.”
He studied cartography and map technology at MSU. Though he didn’t end up in those fields, his studies gave him the ability to read data and improved his written and spoken communication. These skills translated to the military.
MSU also whet his appetite for being a lifelong learner. He has two master’s degrees from other universities: one in computer resources and information management; the other in strategic studies.
Serving in new roles
“I always feel that I’m doing something important because I’m serving our country, our nation, our people.”
Walter was commissioned into the Army in 1985 as a second lieutenant engineer officer, but stayed at MSU until his graduation in ’86. He next went into active duty. He had a three-year assignment in Germany before coming back to the States to serve at bases in Missouri, Maryland, Georgia and Virginia. He did that for almost 30 years and worked his way up the ranks as he went.
In 2003, he was deployed for the first time. He spent four months in Kuwait. His second deployment was to Iraq in 2007, where he served for a year as a battalion commander. He was recognized with a Bronze Star for successfully accomplishing every mission to which his battalion was assigned. His third and last deployment, in 2010, was a month-long tour in Afghanistan.
“The Army has really allowed me a lot of travel opportunities. Besides being deployed, I’ve been to Japan, Korea, all over Europe, and to 49 of 50 states. ”
Now, he is in Virginia, near D.C., with his family. He and wife Maureen have three children. He has a civilian job as the executive officer for the Military Intelligence Readiness Command.
He still spends roughly 100 days of the year on active military duty in the U.S. Army Reserve, and is a commanding general at Fort Knox in Kentucky.
“I command the 100th Training Division … I typically go to Fort Knox once a month for two days, and then I travel all over the country. The division has units from coast to coast, so I travel to California, Wisconsin, New Jersey and North Carolina, as well as many other places.”
He also travels for fun, and wants to do that extensively when he retires. “I think everybody should try to travel as much as they can to experience the world, understand all the issues and the different peoples and the cultures. It unquestionably changes the way you look at things, which is very important.”
Staying connected to ROTC
Walter returns to Missouri about once a year, doing his best to stop by MSU’s ROTC every now and then to ask how the program is doing.
“The words that most describe him are giving, supportive and gracious,” said Lt. Colonel Scott B. Morris, professor of military science. “He always makes time for the Bear cadets.”
Walter has been honored with a place in the MSU ROTC Hall of Fame.
From the Army, he has earned many honors in addition to the Bronze Star: three Legions of Merit, eight Meritorious Service Medals and a Meritorious Unit Citation. He said the greatest reward is simply putting on his uniform.
“Even though I don’t wear the uniform every day any longer, I get up excited to go to work to serve the soldiers who join and proudly serve in the Army and Army Reserve. And we have an important mission that we do: defense of our nation. If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what does.”