MIDDLETOWN – Retired Marine Corps Col. Anthony Walker, 87, of Portsmouth, RI died Friday, Nov. 5, 2004 at the Forest Farm Health Care Centre. He was the husband of Judith (Davidson) Walker.
Born in Baltimore on Feb. 24, 1917, he was the only child of the late John Read Walker and Virginia (McBlair) Walker. His aunt, Cornelia McBlair, cared for him in Norfolk, Va., while his parents served in France during World War I.
Walker graduated in 1935 from the Berkshire School and in 1939 from Yale College, where he boxed, played football and majored in economics. After graduation he enlisted in the Marine Corps and served at sea. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1941 and deployed to the South Pacific during World War II.
As a Raider company commander, he led part of the successful attack on Viru Harbor, New Georgia. He was wounded in New Georgia at the battle for Bairoko. Returning to combat, he fought in the campaigns of Emirau, Guam and Okinawa. In Okinawa, he commanded the 6th Marine Division’s Reconnaissance Company, leading numerous night patrols and attacks. The end of the war marked 30 continuous months for him in the Pacific Theater.
Walker later served tours of duty as a U.N. observer in Kashmir, as a battalion and regimental commander in the Fleet Marine Force, as a commander of Marine Barracks at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was a student and an instructor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, and in 1971 concluded 32 years of active duty, including a year in South Vietnam as the Operations Officer of the Joint Military Assistance Command.
Widely known in the Marine Corps as “Cold Steel” for his expertise in bayonet and hand-to-hand combat, Walker was highly regarded for his tactical and leadership skills. His decorations included two Silver Stars, the Purple Heart, a Presidential Unit Citation, a Navy Unit Commendation and the Legion of Merit.
He published two books and numerous articles, mainly on military history, especially the Revolutionary War. His book, “So Few the Brave,” is the definitive history of the Rhode Island regiments in the Revolution.
Walker served as president of Middletown Little League and was a volunteer for the Sachuest Point Wildlife Sanctuary. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Middletown Historical Society and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.
Besides his wife of 57 years, he leaves three sons, William W. Walker of Salem, NC; Daniel A. Walker of Hartford, Conn.; and LtCol Andrew D. Walker, USMC (Ret.), of Poolesville, Md.; and six grandchildren.