BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Mayor Lo Walker has served Bossier City for more than 30 years now, but before he ventured into politics, he served his country in the Air Force.
The decorated Vietnam War Veteran is now a Retired Colonel, even before that, he had dreams of taking to the skies.
"As a young man I used to carve airplanes out of balsa wood," Mayor Walker said.
Little did he know, his interest in aircraft and the promise of a little extra money each month would lead him to a career in the Air Force.
"I found that if you joined ROTC you got an extra $21 a month," Mayor Walker said. "I like to say I had great expectations of going to the moon or something, but they weren't talking about going to the moon when I was in ROTC, and I found the $21 came in handy so I got into ROTC at Louisiana Tech."
He trained as a pilot and received his wings, before being moved to supply and logistics, later volunteering for an unusual highly classified organization.
"The classified thing at that time was 'Jungle Jim' and they went through asking people like myself three questions, like 'if you're shot down are you willing to accept the fact that your country may deny you' and stuff like that," Mayor Walker recalled. "There were a few of us nuts that signed up for that."
That organization grew into the Air Commandos and is now known as the Special Operations force.
"I went back to Vietnam shortly after that, and I was over there when the Tet Offensive kicked off," Mayor Walker said. "I just happen to be up and giving a lieutenant colonel a check ride at night and then the war kicked off, and so I flew four sorties that night dropping flares over the city of Nha Trang and all through the night landing and getting more flares."
Walker was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts that night. During his 30 year Air Force Career he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, thirteen Air Medals, a Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal.
He retired from the 2d BW at Barksdale Air Force Base in 1986, having reached the rank of Colonel.
"I have no complaints, I enjoyed my Air Force time, I probably still be in the Air Force today if they didn't have age limits."
Walker is now in his 4th term as the Bossier City Mayor.
"I've been with the city over 30 years and had 30 years with the Air Force so I'm about to get the hang of this this job," Walker said with a laugh. He credits his military career for helping him
"The things I learned in the Air Force have assisted me in good stead for this job," Walker said. "There's a lot of similarities basically you have to pick the right people to do the job and then you have to treat them right."
Mayor Walker says serving the Bossier community which is home to Barksdale AFB helps combine the best of both worlds.
"I go to the base all the time, I call it re-bluing myself, but I enjoy doing things for the base and doing things for military people and they have a tremendous job a difficult job and we try to make it as easy as we can from our perspective as the way we treat them coming into the community making sure they're welcome."