TRIBUTE TO CAPTAIN DAVE WALKER -- HON. C.L. ``BUTCH'' OTTER (Extensions of Remarks - May 24, 2001)
HON. C.L. ``BUTCH'' OTTER
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, May 24, 2001
Mr. OTTER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great American, Dave Walker, who today will be laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery. Captain Dave Walker served his country on the sea, in the sky, and among the stars.
Captain Walker graduated from the United States Naval academy in 1966, completed his flight training, and became an F-4 Phantom Pilot. He led many combat missions over Vietnam. After returning from Vietnam, Dave became a test pilot and helped the Navy transition from the F-4 to the F-14 Tomcat that is still flown today. During his naval career, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, six Air Medals, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, among others.
In 1978 Dave was selected by NASA for astronaut training and graduated in 1979. He served in many important support roles, including chase plane pilot for STS-1, and mission support leader for STS-5 and 6. Dave first went into space aboard the Space Shuttle discovery during Mission STS 51-A in 1984--the first salvage operation completed in space.
Dave Walker returned to space in 1989 as commander of STS-30 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Dave and his crew again contributed to scientific knowledge by launching the Magellan space probe to Venus. He also commanded the Space Shuttles Discovery and Endeavour on important missions in recent years.
After leaving NASA in 1996 Dave Walker entered the private sector, and he and his wife purchased a home in McCall. Dave quickly advanced as President of the Idaho Aviation Assocaiton and the Idaho Aviation Foundation, and worked tirelessly to promote and protect the aviation community. He was particularly interested in working to reopen Cascade Reservoir Air Strip, one of the most beautiful fields in Idaho.
Sadly, Dave will never get the chance to fly into Cascade Reservoir airstrip again. He was diagnosed with cancer in March and passed away on April 23rd. He is survived by his wife Paige, his children Michael and Mathieson, and a grateful nation. Heroes are buried in Arlington Cemetery, but heroes like Dave Walker will live on in the lives of the people he fought to protect in Vietnam, the knowledge he contributed to space technology and aviation, and the friendships he made in Idaho.