Walkers proud of Air Force pilot grandson
by Courtney Stevens
Jun 14, 2013 | 2882 views | 0 0 comments | 118 118 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Capt. Hugh Walker, his wife Kristin, and their daughter Kaitlyn will soon move to Nevada where he will teach at the Nellis Air Force Base for two years.
Capt. Hugh Walker, his wife Kristin, and their daughter Kaitlyn will soon move to Nevada where he will teach at the Nellis Air Force Base for two years.
slideshow
When asked if Clevelanders Hugh Ellis and Eloise Walker Sr. had a moment to talk about their grandson the response was "how much time do you have?"

Walker is the proud grandparent of Capt. Hugh Walker of the United States Air Force 77th Fighter Squadron.

Upon his return from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in April, Walker was awarded the Lt. Col. Anthony C. Shine Award and the Robbie Risner Award.

The Lt. Col. Anthony C. Shine Award was created to recognize an outstanding fighter pilot for proficiency and professionalism in flying a fighter aircraft, making him the number one fighter pilot in the Air Force.

Capt. Walker has been deployed to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan within two years, during which time he commanded an 18-plane squadron.

"We promoted his interest in planes and flying when he asked for a coffee table airplane book for Christmas when he was 5. By the time he was in seventh grade he had made up his mind that going into the Air Force was what he really wanted to do," said Eloise.

According to “Air Force Print News Today,” Lt. Col. Johnny Vargas, 77th FS commander said, "Capt. Walker is the epitome of what being a weapons officer is all about. He is humble, approachable and credible.

“He has instructed the men and women of the 77th FS and taken us to a level of capability previously not thought possible, enabling us to excel during combat operations in both Libya and Afghanistan.

“He is a true professional both on the ground and in the air. He is a warrior. He is a fighter pilot."

Considered the college football Heisman Trophy equivalent, the Robbie Risner Award was established in 1976 and is awarded to the Air Force weapons officer who makes the largest combat impact in their first year after graduating from the Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Capt. Walker is married to Kristin Walker and together they have 15-month-old daughter Kaitlyn.

"When he was told he had a place in the Air Force Academy, Sen. Charlie Ross told him only two percent will leave the academy with the same girlfriend they have now. Of course, he and Kristin are married and began dating in 10th grade," said Eloise.

"I have observed that people who are really good pilots are born that way.

They seem to be born with a natural desire and he was that way. From the time he could talk and jump on furniture he was flying airplanes," said Hugh Ellis.

Walker believes that his grandson was inspired to be in the military from his own experience in serving in the Marine Corps on aircraft carriers.

"He had an interest to follow suit. It seems he was born to do what he was doing," said Hugh Ellis

After being deployed for an extended period of time, Capt. Walker was able to take a short break from flying.

Eloise said, "I talked to him yesterday and you could just tell he was happy.

“He told me he was back flying again. He sees it as his mission in life — to keep us free."