Walker, Robert Francis, FN

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Fireman
Last Primary NEC
FN-0000-Fireman
Last Rating/NEC Group
Fireman
Primary Unit
1945-1945, Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT)/Commander Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)
Service Years
1944 - 1945
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Order of the Golden Dragon
Panama Canal
FN-Fireman

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
California
California
Year of Birth
1926
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Bersley H. Thomas, Jr. (Tom), SMCS to remember Walker, Robert Francis, FN.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Los Angeles
Last Address
Los Angeles

Casualty Date
Apr 11, 1945
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Other Explosive Device
Location
Okinawa
Conflict
World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 

Order of the Shellback Order of the Golden Dragon


 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United StatesNational Association of Destroyer Veterans (Tin Can Sailors)Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)
  1941, Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States - Assoc. Page
  1945, National Association of Destroyer Veterans (Tin Can Sailors) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1945, Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW)

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

 
 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1944, Recruit Training (San Diego, CA), 352
 Duty Stations
RTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) San Diego, CAUSS Kidd (DD-661)US NavyCommander in Chief Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT)/Commander Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)
  1944-1944, RTC (Cadre/Faculty Staff) San Diego, CA
  1944-1945, USS Kidd (DD-661)
  1945-1945, CTF 58
  1945-1945, Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT)/Commander Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Leyte Gulf
  1944-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Luzon Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Okinawa Gunto Operation
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity


                                        USS Kidd (DD-661)

             

Kidd sailed 19 February 1945, to join Task Force 58 (TF 58) for the invasion of Okinawa. Trained and battlewise, Kidd played a key role during the first days of the Okinawa campaign, screening battleships, bombarding key targets ashore, rescuing downed pilots, sinking floating mines, providing early warning of raids, guarding heavily damaged Franklin (CV-13), and shooting down kamikazes.

While on picket station 11 April 1945, Kidd and her division mates, USS Black, USS Bullard, and USS Chauncey, with the help of Combat Air Patrol, repelled three air raids. That afternoon a single enemy plane crashed into Kidd, killing 38 men and wounding 55. As the destroyer headed south to rejoin the task group, her effective fire drove off enemy planes trying to finish her. 

   
Comments/Citation

ROBERT FRANCIS WALKER

 

Robert Francis Walker was born on July 31, 1926, to parents Hubert Perry and Helen Elizabeth (Weber) Walker in Van Nuys, California.  He was one of four children which included two brothers, Raymond and Timothy, and a sister Lorraine.  At some unknown point, the Walker family moved from Van Nuys to North Hollywood, California, where Robert attended North Hollywood High School into the 10th grade.  It was here that he met his future wife, Marguerite Frances Donner.

 

Robert enlisted in the U.S. Navy on February 18, 1944, at Los Angeles, California.  He attended boot camp at San Diego and, following graduation, he was assigned to the Naval Receiving Station at Los Angeles, the Naval Training Station at San Diego, and the Naval Receiving Station at San Diego.  He was next sent to the Naval Receiving Station at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he reported aboard the USS KIDD (DD-661) on September 13, 1944, with the rate of Seaman 2nd class.  On December 01, 1944, Robert advanced to a new rate in the Engineering Division, making Fireman 2nd class.  At some point in the following four months, he was promoted to Fireman 1st class.

When the kamikaze plane struck the KIDD off of Okinawa on April 11, 1945, Robert was at his post in the forward fireroom where the plane hit.  The bomb that the plane carried did not detonate inside of the ship but rather was catapulted through that space, holing the destroyer and exploding outside the port side hull.  The crash, however, ruptured the Number One boiler, releasing steam that was 800° F in temperature and killing every man in the compartment.  Robert was buried at sea at 1030 the following day on Thursday, April 12, 1945, along with his shipmates while the KIDD was en route back to Ulithi Atoll from the front lines.

After many years of searching, researcher and former KIDD crew member Richard E. Ammon, Jr., finally located the family of Robert Francis Walker.  His widow, Marguerite Willis, and son Larry S. Walker, attended the annual memorial service for KIDD's fallen shipmates on April 11, 2000, and brought with them several of Robert's personal possessions, including the photo shown above.  Below, Marguerite Willis shares her memories of Robert.

April 22, 2000

 

In response to your [Tim NesSmith's] request of some background on Robert Francis Walker, I'll do the best I can.

 

Bob was born on July 31, 1926, in Los Angeles, California.  From the little he told me of his life before I met him, I'll relate all that I can remember.  He wanted to enlist in the Navy in early 1942, but his parents wouldn't sign the consent papers.  He left North Hollywood, California, and went to Tonopah, Nevada, where he worked for a mining company—driving a truck.  Again, he tried to enlist by lying about his age, but it didn't work.  Bob returned to North Hollywood in late summer of 1942 and worked at Universal Studios part-time while attending North Hollywood High School.

 

I met him in October of 1942, as I was also attending North Hollywood High.  Our first date was a "Sadie Hawkins Day" dance.  We dated on and off until we were married on November 25, 1943, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  We returned to California and lived in Rosemead.  Bob got a job at Lyon Van and Storage Company in Alhambra, crating Hudson bombers for delivery to England.  He still wanted to go in the Navy, so in February 1944, I signed the papers and off he went to San Diego Naval Training Station.  After he joined the Navy, I moved back to North Hollywood to live with my folks.  After finishing boot camp and whatever else he did, he eventually reported on board the USS KIDD on September 13, 1944, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

 

Our son, Lawrence Stephen Walker, was born on August 14, 1944; however, Bob had already shipped out of San Diego at this time because I distinctly remember sending a telegram addressed to the USS KIDD (DD-661), telling him of the birth of our son.

 

In December, the KIDD returned to Mare Island Naval Shipyard for a major overhaul and also leave for the crew.  The sailors whose homes were on the West Coast were given leave first, so as to be able to spend Christmas with their families.  Bob received a two-week leave, came home to North Hollywood, and saw his son for the first time on Christmas Day 1944.

 

The rest of the crew went on their leave when the first crew returned.  The ship left Mare Island for a shakedown cruise to San Diego in February 1945.  While in San Diego, Bob had liberty, and my infant son and I went down there to spend a few days with him in San Diego.  A short time later, still in February, the KIDD departed San Diego for the war in the Pacific.

 

I was born on January 23, 1928, married at fifteen, had a baby at sixteen, and became a widow at seventeen.  At the time of Bob's death, his father [Hubert P.], a fireman, and mother [Helen E. (Weber)] lived in North Hollywood with his siblings—Raymond, nine; Lorraine, six; and Tim; one.

 

My husband, Bob Willis, and I were very impressed with the Louisiana Naval War Memorial, especially the KIDD museum and the Memorial Plaza.  God bless, and keep up the good work with all of your programs.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Marguerite Willis

  

 

   
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