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About Sam Sims Walker
Sam Sims Walker (born July 31, 1925), United States Army, is a retired General who served as the Commanding General of Allied Land Forces, South East Europe (COMLANDSOUTHEAST) from 1977 to 1978.
Walker was born at West Point, New York, and is the son of General Walton Walker, himself a four star general; they are one of only two pairs of fathers and sons to achieve the rank of four-star general in U.S. Army history. He enrolled in the Virginia Military Institute in 1941, but transferred to the United States Military Academy the next year. Upon graduation from West Point in 1946, he was commissioned into the infantry, and his initial assignment was with the 11th Airborne Division on occupation duty in Japan. He served in the Korean War, during which, as a company commander in the 24th Infantry Division, he earned a Silver Star. Also during his time in Korea, his father, then commanding the Eighth Army, was killed in a vehicle accident, and Walker escorted his body back the U.S. Returning to the United States at the end of his combat tour in 1951, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Infantry School as an instructor.
After graduating in 1957 from the Command and General Staff College, Walker served in a variety of assignments, to include aide-de-camp to the Chief of Staff of the Army, tactical officer at his alma mater, and Secretary of the General Staff of the United Nations Command/US Forces, Korea. He was a Distinguished Graduate from the National War College in 1963, and then assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment. He volunteered for duty in Vietnam, serving as G-3, 1st Infantry Division, and took command of a brigade as a lieutenant colonel, earning a second Silver Star.
After Vietnam, Walker attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard, followed by an assignment in the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army as Chief of Force Readiness, Force Planning, and Analysis. After that position he was chosen to represent the Army on the Council of Foreign Relations.
He received his first star in 1968, and became the Assistant Division Commander, 82nd Airborne Division, before being selected as the 54th Commandant of Cadets at West Point in 1969. Promoted to Major General, he took command of the 3rd Infantry Division, followed by selection as the U.S. Commander in Berlin.
As a Lieutenant General, Walker served as the Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Georgia from 1975 to 1977. In 1977 he selected for promotion to General, at the time the youngest four-star general in the army, and appointed to his final position as Commanding General, Allied Land Forces Southeast, headquartered in Turkey. His time in Turkey was a tumultuous one, coinciding with the U.S. arms embargo against Turkey for deploying troops to Cyprus in 1974. At the end of this assignment he was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Turkish Armed Forces Medal of Distinguished Service. The Army was either unable or unwilling to place him in another four star slot, so facing non-punitive demotion to three star rank, he opted to retire from the army in 1978.
Post military career
After retiring from the Army, Walker accepted the position of Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, which he served as from 1981 to 1988. He has also served as a board member of the Advisory Council of the U.S.-Korea Foundation, the Council on U.S.-Korea Security Studies, the National D-Day Museum, and American Friends of Turkey. He received the 2005 Distinguished Graduate Award from the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy.