Monday, April 04, 2011
Walter Daniel was born in Fletcher, Okla., in 1925. He grew up in Oklahoma City, Okla., and graduated from Central High School. He has a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Oklahoma, a master of science degree in international affairs from The George Washington University, and is a graduate of the advanced management program at Harvard University. In October 1943 General Daniel began his military career as an aviation cadet in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Luke Field, Ariz., and received his pilot wings and commission as a second lieutenant in February 1946. He remained at Luke Field for operational training. In May 1946 he joined the occupation forces in Germany where he flew the P-51, as a member of the 31st Fighter Group and later was a P-47 fighter pilot in the 86th Fighter Group. In September 1948 General Daniel left active military service to resume his education at the University of Oklahoma and became a member of the 185th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. During the Korean War General Daniel was recalled to active duty in April 1951 with his squadron, an organization of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, and served at Will Rogers Field, Okla. He went to Korea with the 67th Wing and flew 100 combat missions in the RF-51 and RF-80 aircraft. He returned to the United States in November 1952 and served with the 1738th Ferrying Squadron.In September 1953 General Daniel entered the U.S. Air Force Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Upon graduation in April 1954, he was assigned as experimental flight test officer in the Directorate of Flight and All-weather Test, Wright Air Development Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. During the next three years he performed tests in more than 20 types of aircraft, notable among these were the X-123D, boundary layer control; RF-84, range extension; F-100 and F-104, all-weather performance tests. In June 1957 he was assigned to the Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where he became chief of fighter testing and participated in flight testing of all century series fighter aircraft. In February 1962 he established four world time-to-climb records in the T-38. On May 1, 1965, as chief of Flight Test Operations for the Mach 3 YF-12 and SR-71, General Daniel established five world speed records and was copilot when one altitude record was made. For these achievements he was corecipient of the 1965 MacKay Trophy. General Daniel attended the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., from August 1966 to July 1967, and was a distinguished graduate. He next attended combat crew training in the F-4 and RF-4 aircraft. In May 1968 General Daniel went to Southeast Asia where he served as deputy commander for operations of the 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. He flew 70 missions over North Vietnam as both a fighter and reconnaissance pilot before being reassigned in September 1968 as chief of the Fighter Division for Combat Operations, Seventh Air Force, in the Republic of Vietnam. He was transferred to the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., in May 1969 where he was assigned to the Directorate of Defense Research and Engineering. In April 1971 he assumed command of the 75th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. The numerical designation of the wing was changed in July 1971 to the 67th, the same as the wing with which General Daniel served in Korea. In August 1972 General Daniel became the inspector general, Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. On Sept. 18, 1971, he was admitted as a fellow to the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the highest position the organization grants. He is a command pilot with more than 6,000 flying hours and has flown more than 75 types of aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon.