HometownMcLennan County


Local veteran of 3 wars remembered by loved ones as humble, brave

Posted at 11:01 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 00:15:56-05

WACO, Texas — Ira Walton broke barriers for Black men in the 1940s when he served as a Tuskegee Airman. He went on to serve in three different wars, then came home and continued to give back to other veterans for years.

He was a staple in the veteran community up until he just recently passed at 99 years old.

"It was a blessing to know him and to have him as an example of how to be a pillar in the community," his granddaughter Christine Wilson told 25 News.

Those who knew Ira Walton best remember him as humble, generous, and so brave.

"Just the fact that he was in three wars and experienced three wars, not three tours but three wars," McLennan County Veteran's Service Officer Steve Hernandez said. "It was pretty much a really strong testament for any veteran. It's not something that everyone can experience."

Walton served in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.

"I look at the courage he must've had to endure those three wars and I think about the honor afterwards of being able to survive all three wars," Hernandez said.

"He was very humble about it," Wilson said. "He would tell stories here and there, but he never really boasted about everything he did.< it wasn't until we got older and all this stuff happened in the world that we really realized what he sacrificed."

Walton was a military man through and through. He sat down with 25 News last year to talk about what serving meant to him.

"It's a different occupation," he said in November of 2021. "One thing about it, the person has to be devoted, determined, and committed."

His granddaughter said he was so committed that despite the length and success of his career, he still thought there was more to do.

"I guess you're supposed to retire at 50 and when he turned 50 he said I kept my mouth shut so they wouldn't catch me," she said. "He made it until 51 and then they realized he needed to retire and they forced him to retire."

In retirement, Walton spent a lot of his time with other veterans at the one-stop in Waco. He even donated his old Tuskegee Airman jacket to the organization.

"He actually said 'I'd like y'all to have it so it won't be forgotten' and that's how I know he won't be forgotten because of it," Hernandez said.

His legacy will live on not only on the walls of the one-stop, but also in the memories of the many lives he's changed along the way.