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U. S. Army Air Force Brigadier General Kenneth N. Walker was one of America’s highest ranking officers Missing In Action (MIA) on a combat mission over Rabaul, New Britain on January 5, 1943. Afterward, he earned the Medal of Honor, posthumously.

B-17F “San Antonio Rose” 41-24458
B-17F “San Antonio Rose” 41-24458

Air Force Magazine

Valor: Courage and Conviction
by John L. Frisbee, Contributing Editor
Air Force Magazine October 1990, Vol 73, No. 10

The skirmishes and battles that led to an independent Air Force were fought in Washington as well as in the field. Ken Walker was a hero in both arenas.

“There is a temptation for Americans to forget these MIAs whose deaths seems so long ago. How we treat these missing, who cannot speak for themselves, says much about us. I hope our decision to honor our commitment to ‘Leave No One Behind’ means we realize the debt we owe our military- past and future. These were Americans who gave their lives for their country. They deserve to be brought back home. They would be surprised it was ever a question that they would be sought. They still matter to me and the other surviving family members and friends. We still care.”
– Douglas Walker  (son of  Kenneth N. Walker)

“I am honored to play a part in the commemoration of the heroes of the San Antonio Rose, who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our nation. With the passage of this bipartisan resolution, the Senate has reaffirmed our nation’s duty to fulfill the promise made to these brave Americans and their families by continuing the search to bring them home. Now, DoD must recommit to a devoted search and recovery mission to locate and return the remains of the crew of the San Antonio Rose”
– U. S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Press Release “Blumenthal Applauds Senate Passage of Resolution to Recognize Lost Crew of San Antonio Rose” December 20, 2017

In addition to the resolution honoring the crew of the San Antonio Rose, Blumenthal led a bipartisan letter, joined by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Steve Daines (R-MT), calling on Kelly McKeague, the Director of the Defense POW/ MIA Accounting Agency to establish a devoted search and recovery mission to locate and return the remains of the crew. Blumenthal’s full letter to McKeague is available for download here.

Read The Search for General Walker: New Insights by Richard Dunn that appeared in Air Power History, Fall 2014 pages 6-19 the magazine of the Air Force Historical Foundation.

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United States Army Air Force Brigadier General