Walker shares his passion for flying
Aug 04, 2013 | 1823 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
"I love my country," was how Air Force Capt. Hugh Walker, grandson of Cleveland's Hugh Ellis and Eloise Walker, greeted the members of the Noon Lions Club and Exchange Club on Friday.

The Noon Lions Club, as well as Exchange Club of Cleveland, combined their meetings last week at the Cleveland Country Club to hear Walker describe his journey through the Air Force and his many experiences flying overseas.

Walker has flown an F-16 in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan and has flown in about 160 combat missions.

"The support that we get from everyone down here is unbelievable. It really warms your heart," said Walker.

He recently received the Robbie Risner Award and is now the number 1 fighter pilot in the United States Air Force.

Walker spoke about his time overseas as well as how he was able to reach his current status in the Air Force.

He said he became interested in flying from seeing pictures of his grandfather Hugh Ellis Walker in uniform as well as attending flight shows, during such events as Memphis In May.

Walker went to the Air Force Academy as a soccer player and after graduation trained in San Antonio, Texas, with the National Guard before going through the Air Force Weapons School.

After going through the rigorous procedures necessary to fly in combat and to become an instructor, Walker said it is rewarding to pass on his knowledge.

"It's a very rewarding experience to have my young guys get to that level of experience," said Walker.

Walker spent time in Germany, which he refers to as his "favorite tour," working in an operation called Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses or SEAD.

The goal of which was to entice enemy fire in order to better understand their weapons.

After his time in Germany, Walker spent five and a half months in Iraq and said he was glad, "we ended up not having to drop a single bomb the entire time we were there."

A short time later, Walker was selected to attend the Air Force Weapons School, where he learned the highest level of training in the country.

Walker then spent three months in Libya, seven months in Afghanistan and was able to return home around two months ago.

After delivering his speech, Walker answered questions from the audience of almost a hundred, including his thoughts about drones.

Walker explained that "drones can stay airborne longer" and "be up for days when we need sleep as pilots," however there are specific things pilots are able to do that drones can't such as "have wider scope to see" the area they are fighting against.

Walker also said the U.S. "owns the night" in regards to flying.

Walker, who said he shares his love of southern cuisine, including sweet tea, with those he meets, is moving to Las Vegas with his family, where he will serve as an instructor at the Air Force Weapons School teaching other fighter pilots.