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Lt. Col. Roger Walden

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Information about Lt. Col. Roger Walden

Profile image of Lt. Col. Roger Walden

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Paratrooper

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Eggs
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Favorite Quote:
Do The Best You Can.

Birthplace

Born:
5/21/1922
Birth Location:
Des Moines, Iowa

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Paratrooper

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Eggs
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Favorite Quote:
Do The Best You Can.

Birthplace

Born:
5/21/1922
Birth Location:
Des Moines
See how Lt. Col. Roger Walden is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Pioneering paratrooper Roger Stanley Walden was born on May 21, 1922 in Des Moines, Iowa. Attending St. Anselm’s School in Chicago and Barber Intermediate School, Munger School, and Chadsey Schools in Detroit, Walden graduated from Eastern High School in 1941.

A tool apprentice at Ford at the onset of World War II, Walden enlisted on December 7, 1942. Assigned to the 365th Infantry Regiment, Walden volunteered for the first black test platoon of 20 paratroopers. At Parachute School in Fort Benning, Georgia, Walden and fifteen others earned their parachute wings as the Sweet Sixteen in February of 1944, becoming the first African American paratroopers in United States military history. Promoted to sergeant in the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, Walden and his group were transferred to Camp Mackall, North Carolina. Walden received his commission as a second lieutenant of infantry in March of 1945 when he finished Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning. After receiving special training to combat Japanese balloon bombs at Camp Pendleton, Oregon, the 555th was soon deployed as Army fire jumpers. Shipped to Gifu, Honshu, Japan in 1949, Walden served as commander of Company A of the 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division of the Far East Command. In 1950, Walden as a captain commanded Company F in Pusan, Korea and he was made a Battalion S4 before being rotated back to the United States. Promoted to Major, Walden served in Europe from 1957 to 1960 with the 3rd Armored Rifle Battalion, 51st Infantry, 4th Armored Group.

Earning his B.A. degree in social studies from San Francisco State University under the Army’s Bootstrap Program, Walden was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He taught military science at Central State University until his retirement in 1966. Walden worked as manager of the City of Detroit’s Vacant Housing Rehabilitation Program until 1984.

Walden passed away on September 17, 2013.

See how Lt. Col. Roger Walden is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lt. Col. Roger Walden's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden relates his memories of his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden relates his memories of his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Des Moines, Iowa
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden recalls moving around during his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his relationship with his father during his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about being raised by his father's relatives as a young teenager
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his intermediate and high school experiences in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his experiences at Eastern High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his U.S. Army unit during his training
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden explains how he came to join the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden reflects on the pressure of being part of the 555th Parachute Infantry Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes the 555th Parachute Infantry Company's impetus for success
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden details the training regimen for the 555th Parachute Infantry Company, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden details the training regimen for the 555th Parachute Infantry Company, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden recalls the first time he jumped out of a plane
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about the first seventeen men who qualified for the 555th Parachute Infantry Company
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about his specialized training for the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes the specialized equipment he used as a U.S. Army paratrooper during World War II
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about being assigned to the northwestern United States during World War II
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about defending against Japanese fire balloon attacks on the United States during World War II
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about his promotion to captain during the Korean War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his combat experience in the Korean War, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his combat experience in the Korean War, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about his career in the U.S. Army during the late 1940s and early 1950s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden remembers being accused of communism during the Second Red Scare, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden remembers being accused of communism during the Second Red Scare, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden remembers being accused of communism during the Second Red Scare, pt. 3
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about serving in the U.S. Army's 4th Armored Group in Germany during the Cold War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden recalls being one of the first black officers at the Sixth U.S. Army Headquarters in San Francisco, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about retiring from the U.S. Army in 1966
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Slating of Lt. Col. Roger Walden's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about his job with the Detroit Housing Commission
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his work for the City of Detroit's Vacant Housing Rehabilitation Program
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about the impact of the Vacant Housing Rehabilitation Program on the Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about collaborating with community organizations while working for the Detroit Housing Commission
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden talks about his family life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden offers advice for future generations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lt. Col. Roger Walden narrates his photographs, pt. 2