Walter Beckham was born in 1916 in Florida. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1941 as a cadet receiving his wings in December of that year. Assigned to the 353rd Fighter Group he was sent to England. Beckham flew the p-47 Thunderbolt and soon became a top Ace with this aircraft. During the winter of 1943-44, his score mounted, with his victories frequently coming in pairs. By mid-February, he had 18 victories, at that time tops in the ETO. On Feb. 22, on his 57th mission, he was hit by flak over Ostheim. He bailed out successfully, but was captured and remained a POW until April 1945.  Colonel Walter Beckham finished the War with 18 victories.