#VeteranOfTheDay Army and Air Force Veteran Walter A. Pike



Army and Air Force Veteran Walter A. Pike is today's Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army and Air Force Veteran Walter A. Pike, who served as part of the Army Third Infantry Division during World War II.

Walter Pike wanted to serve in World War II as a Navy pilot, joining the Naval Flight Program. His mother, however, had plans of her own. She persuaded him to join the Army instead. With hope that the war would soon be over, she spoke with the Pasco County draft chairman, who promised to delay Pike’s draft into the Army for one year.

However, the Army drafted Pike in 1944 and sent him to Fort McPherson, Georgia, for basic training. Upon completing his training, Pike joined the 3rd Infantry Division and deployed to France to aid in the effort there. While in France, his unit engaged in heavy combat. Out of 135 men in the unit, only 27 either survived the war or were not wounded and sent home. Pike survived the war without any serious injuries.

Pike decided to remain in the military after the war ended. He eventually transferred into the Air Force. Pike worked as a mechanic on tanker aircraft. Pike later worked with the Minutemen Missile Program at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. These nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles served as a deterrent and response to the Soviet Union’s ICBM program and hydrogen bomb testing.

By the time of his retirement, Pike was a master sergeant. Throughout his service in the military, Pike received an Army Good Conduct Medal, a European Campaign Medal, a World War II Victory Medal, and an Army of Occupation Medal. Pike was also awarded two Purple Hearts which he did not accept, stating that “only a fool fights for medals; you fight to keep yourself alive and you fight to keep the men in your squad alive.”

Pike passed away in his home in Tampa, Florida, in 2002.

We honor his service.


Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to newmedia@va.gov with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.


Contributors

Writer: Robert Terry

Editor: Kailey Miller 

Fact checker: Giancarlo Gilbert-Igelsrud

Graphic artist: Jessica Hunsinger

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Larry Henderson    

    My dad mr. OG Henderson was there during the Battle of Iwo Jima he was there to watch them raise the US flag when the battle was over he never talked much about the Battle other than he says he lost way too many fellow soldiers and Friends, he died on March 16th and believe of 2007 may God bless him and all those who gave their lives for their country in the Battle of Iwo Jima

  2. Senior Veterans Care Network    

    We honor the service of Walter Pike.

Comments are closed.