More detail on this person: July 15, 1931 - August 16, 2016 Burch, Walter M., Lt. Col., USA,
Retired, "a courageous aviator and soldier, and a great engineer," passed away at age 85, on 16
August 2016 in Irvine, California, with his family lovingly holding his hands. He was born in
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Oscar and Urtis Burch, and raised in Artesia, New Mexico. He always
wanted to fly, so he joined the New Mexico Air National Guard in 1949 while still in Artesia High
School. He worked briefly in oil refineries for Frontier Natural Gas and Phillips in Artesia before
joining the US Army in 1955, where he earned a dual rating to fly fixed-wing aircraft and
helicopters. He served stateside, in Korea, two tours in Vietnam, with CENTAG at NATO Headquarters
in Germany, and commanded Biggs Army Airfield at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas, on his final
assignment. He earned many decorations, including three Bronze Stars, and a Purple Heart when his
helicopter was shot down in Vietnam.After 32 years in the military, he retired from the Army in
1982, and went to work in Southern California on missile systems for Ford Aerospace, Loral
Aeroneutronic, and Lockheed Martin, retiring in 1997. His family and colleagues remember him as a
brave pilot, an excellent researcher, and a stickler for detail, but an easy-going man; serious most
of the time, but with a wonderful, dry sense of humor, a terrific smile, a warm heart, and strength
of character. He was a good and honorable man, quiet, reserved, and sensitive, who passed his strong
values of duty, loyalty, service, and hard work to his children. He could fix just about anything,
loved tinkering in his garage, and devoured military and spy novels. Words cannot describe how
beloved he is, and how much he will be missed. Walt is survived by his wife of 51 years, Edna
(Kooyer); his daughters, Christa Burch, Debra Ann Manser and husband, Steve; his son, Walter M.
Burch, Jr. and wife, Chaundelle; and three grandchildren, Melissa and Matt Manser, and Trenton
Burch. Services will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan with burial in Ellsworth, Michigan. In lieu
of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity in his name.
It is with tremendous sadness I write you to tell you my father, Lt. Col. Walter M. Burch, USA, Ret., died on 16 August 2016. He served two tours in Vietnam (66-67, and 70-71), Commanding the 282nd Blackcats Assault Helicopter Co. for a portion of his second tour. He rarely spoke about himself, or his past, but he always mentioned his colleagues with fondness and pride, and I know he'd made an effort to reconnect with many folks from his days in Vietnam during the last decade of his life. His health declined sharply in 2013, keeping him largely housebound, but he found escape, solace, and entertainment beyond these walls through his relationships with folks in the Blackcats, the VHPA, and the VHFCN. Thank you for brightening his days!
If anyone would like to send condolences to his wife, Eydie Burch, she can be reached at Dad's email address, email@example.com.
This information was last updated 08/25/2016
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Date posted on this site: 09/19/2018
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