Walter Charles Wickboldt
1st Battle Group 22nd Infantry
4th Infantry Division
Walter C. Wickboldt entered the
United States Military Academy at West Point, New York on July 1,
He graduated on June 11, 1939, 315 out of a class of 456. His best subjects were Military Hygene and Tactics
and his worst subjects were Engineering and Military History.
He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry on June 12, 1939.
He was offerred the position of
1st Lieutenant in the Army of the United States (AUS) on
September 9, 1940
which he accepted on October 3, 1940. He was promoted to Captain (AUS) on February 1, 1942.
On June 12, 1942 he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the Regular Army.
He was promoted to Major (AUS)
on October 5, 1942 and to Lieutenant Colonel (AUS)
on June 27, 1944.
His promotion to Captain in the
Regular Army came on July 15, 1948. He became a Major in the
on May 14, 1951.
On January 31, 1955 he was promoted to Colonel (AUS).
He was promoted to Lieutenant
Colonel in the Regular Army on March 22, 1957 and to
Colonel in the Regular Army on June 12, 1964.
He graduated from the Command
& General Staff College in 1947. He was a graduate of the
Armed Forces Staff College in 1950 and a graduate of the Army War College in 1957.
During WW2 he was a highly
decorated officer of the 19th Infantry Regiment in the 24th
serving in all five campaigns in the Pacific theater of operations in which the 24th Division took part.
He received the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action, as per General Orders No. 156 (1945) HQ 24th Infantry Division.
Walter C. Wickboldt's entry in the 1939 Howitzer Yearbook from West Point
Walter Charles Wickboldt was
born in New Orleans, LA, where he attended Warren Easton High
School, Lorton Preparatory School,
and Louisiana State University. While at LSU, he was a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Walter desired to attend the
Naval Academy, but although he passed the entrance examinations,
he was not accepted.
He then decided to try West Point but needed an appointment. His father, Alfred Wickboldt, who had been the bandmaster
for Teddy Roosevelts Roughriders during the SpanishAmerican War, had been selected by Louisianas governor,
Huey Long, to run the Louisiana State University band. Because of this association, Alfred introduced Walter to the "King-fish,"
who stated, "Yeah, boy, youre goin to make a fine officer." Senator Longs prediction proved right.
Walters four years at West
Point were years of hard work, and a continuous struggle with the
Academic Department prevented him
from fully participating in athletics and other extra-curricular activities. In spite of these academic struggles, he sang in the cadet choir,
joined the fishing club, became intramural champion in boxing, and demonstrated sincere interest in and aptitude for the military profession.
On graduation day, 12 Jun 1939, 2LT Walter Wickboldt, Infantry, married Marjorie Loving, his "one and only" from their hometown of
New Orleans. After graduation leave, they processed through Ft. Hamilton, NY, and proceeded to Schofield Barracks, HI.
He was happily assigned as a rifle platoon leader in the 19th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division. "Wick" and Marjorie
enjoyed two wonderful years there until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
For the next five years, Wick
remained with the 24th Infantry Division, fighting in the central
and southwest Pacific.
He advanced from rifle platoon leader to company commander, then to battalion commander, regimental executive officer,
and, finally, to regimental commander. Throughout the war, he was a great inspiration to his men. On the battlefield, he demonstrated
dauntless courage, outstanding leadership, sound tactical ability, outstanding judgment, and constant devotion to duty. He earned
the Combat Infantry Badge, Silver Star, two Legions of Merit, three Bronze Stars, an Air Medal, and a Commendation Medal.
At wars end, he returned
home to Marjorie and their son, Walter Charles Wickboldt II, who
was born in 1942. For the next 23 years,
which were spent with his family, Walter received prestigious and challenging assignments both stateside and overseas, including:
Command and General Staff College in 1947; the faculty of the Infantry School, 1947-1950; the Atomic Energy Commission,
1950-1952; the staff and faculty of the Canadian War College, 1953-1956; attendance at Army War College in 1957; commander
of the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, 1957-1959; G-3 of Military Advisory Assistance Group-Iran, 1959-1961; Office of the
Assistant Chief of Staff Intelligence, Department of the Army, 1961-1964; Korean Military Assistance Group, for which he received
a Commendation Medal, 1965-1967; and Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff-Personnel, Department of the Army, 1968-1969.
After 30 years of distinguished
service to his country, Wick retired to his home in Alexandria,
VA. As Senator Huey Long predicted,
Walter Wickboldt was an outstanding, highly decorated, and respected combat soldier who lived up to the highest standards
of "Duty, Honor, Country." ²
The reference above, to
Wickboldt being "commander of the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry
Division" must be in error.
The photo below shows him wearing the DUI of the 22nd Infantry. If he had been commander of 1st Brigade, he
would not wear the 22nd insignia. As a Colonel, wearing the 22nd DUI, it would indicate he was Regimental Commander
or, in his case, Battle Group Commander, since the years mentioned were 1957-1959.
Colonel Walter C.
Wickboldt (left) as Commanding Officer 1st Battle Group 22nd
Photo most likely taken at Fort Lewis, Washington.
Note the 22nd Infantry DUI on his right shoulder strap.
Photo from the 4th Infantry Division Museum Facebook page
Walter C. Wickboldt's decorations
Walter C. Wickboldt died in Arlington, Virginia, on May 17, 1996.
He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery on May 31, 1996 in Section 60 Grave 6135.
Grave marker for Walter C. Wickboldt
Photo from the Official website of Arlington National Cemetery
¹ West Point Association of Graduates website
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