James Alonzo Walker
September 20, 1918 – August 23, 2004
Graduation date: 5/28/1943
Unit: 332nd Fighter Group
Service # 0804562
Born in Manning, S.C., Walker attended high school in Baltimore, MD, and graduated from Hampton Institute in Hampton, VA.
Walker trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field and was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, whose major responsibility was escorting bombers. After flying more than 80 missions, Walker’s P-51 fighter plane was shot down over Yugoslavia in July 1944. In enemy territory, he was confronted by an armed teenager named Aleksandr Zivkovic. Luckily, the young man was a partisan who helped downed fliers escape capture. Walker returned to duty in just 39 days thanks to Zivkovic’s help, and he had the rare chance to thank his rescuer 50 years later when he ran into Zivkovic at a Tuskegee Airmen convention in Chicago.
After a distinguished 26-year military career with service in 102 missions, Lt Col Walker started working at Wells Fargo in 1965. Starting as a loan officer in Hayward, California, Walker became the first African American personal banking officer at Wells Fargo. In 1979, he retired to an active life of community volunteerism until his death in 2004 at the age of 85.