Sector Detroit Command Center dedicated in the name of WWII veteran, friend

Post written by: Lt. Jillian Lamb, Coast Guard Sector Detroit

 

This picture display now hangs in the newly named and dedicated David Walker Command Center at Coast Guard Sector Detroit

This picture display now hangs in the newly named and dedicated David Walker Command Center at Coast Guard Sector Detroit

During his visit to Sector Detroit, his face lit up with joy as he recounted his days in the Coast Guard and exuded pride of his unit, the Coast Guard and the country. Even at 95, David Walker easily recalls details of his career and the equipment he used as a radioman in the 1940s.  One of his many memories was meeting Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro while stationed aboard the USS Hunter Liggett. Munro would later become the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient. 

As a Coast Guardsman during WWII, Walker was a watch supervisor in the communications department aboard the ship and was responsible for all inbound and outbound radio, and light and semaphore signaling. Starting March 1, 1943, he was part of a landing party on Guadalcanal and then spent 30 days on the island as a unit radioman. While there, he saw heavy combat and multiple airstrikes.  Following the war, as a radioman serving onboard cutters and ashore, Walker found his way into all Coast Guard missions.

 

Capt. Jeff Ogden, commander of Coast Guard Sector Detroit, recognizes David Walker, a Coast Guard and World War II veteran, during a name dedication ceremony for the sector's command center Oct. 28, 2013.

David Walker and Capt. Jeff Ogden

Capt. Jeff Ogden, commander of Sector Detroit, lead the crew in dedicating the sector’s command center to Walker on his 95th birthday, Oct. 28, 2013. Walker was chosen for this honor for his tremendous impact on the sector and the nation. Walker has become somewhat of a permanent party at Sector Detroit, stopping by regularly to talk with the Ogden and the crew about his experiences in the Coast Guard from 1939 to 1951. 

Sector Detroit command center named after World War II veteran

David Walker and Capt. Jeff ogden

“RM1 Walker and all of the radiomen who served before us blazed the trail for the extensive communications gear and equipment that we have access to in our command center today,” said Chief Petty Officer Gabriel Settel, a current operations specialist in the sector’s command center and former telecommunications specialist. “We cannot imagine anyone more fitting to dedicate our command center to.”

A humble man, Walker repeatedly said he was “speechless” by the dedication and the overall hospitality of the unit.  Walker continues to exhibit supreme determination, and he holds a servant heart. He continues to live a vibrant life in which he spends countless hours at local food pantries volunteering to serve meals 4 days per week, as well as continuing to exhibit a passion for communication by contacting friends around the world via his ham radio. 

When asked why he still uses the stairs at his age vice the elevator, he kindly responded, “No need to be lazy at my age – walking keeps the blood moving.” Sector Detroit will continue to look forward to Walker’s visits and have already asked him back for his 100th birthday.

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