Walker makes history as first African-American promoted to general in West Virginia National Guard

CHARLESTON– Col. Christopher S. Walker, Chief of Staff for the West Virginia Air National Guard, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general during a ceremony held at the 167th Airlift Wing Martinsburg, W.Va., Oct. 14.

Walker made history by becoming the first African-American service member to be promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the West Virginia National Guard.

The Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard, Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, presided over the ceremony.

“Chris was selected to be our next general officer because of experience and leadership capability,” said Hoyer. “The Governor and I have great confidence that he will take care of our Guardsmen and women and lead by example. This promotion should also be an acknowledgement that all West Virginians have an opportunity to excel in our organization. By living out the Army and Air Force values and focusing on what is best for West Virginia and the Nation, everyone can achieve their highest potential in the West Virginia National Guard.”

Walker started his military career after graduating the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1988. After nine years as a C-130 navigator, he left active duty and joined the WVANG at the 167th AW where he served nine years as a navigator and held various titles including commander of the 167th Operations Support Squadron.

>From 2006 to 2008, he was the ANG Crisis Action Team Director at the Air National Guard Readiness Center (ANGRC) at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. From 2008 until 2013, he served in the Connecticut Air National Guard as Chief Air Mobility Division at Bradley ANGB, Connecticut and as deputy commander and commander of the 103rd Air and Space Operations Group.

Walker has also held the position of Chief, A3 Mobility Operations Division and NGB Acting Deputy Director, Air, Space and Cyber Operations at ANGRC.

Walker has served in various operations and contingencies as well as serving as a special assistant to the Director of Mobility Forces at the 609th Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udied AB, Qatar, and also served as a civil aviation advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Transportation with the Coalition Provisional Authority.

“It is an honor to promote Col. Walker to the rank of brigadier general today and to serve alongside him in the West Virginia Air National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. Paige Hunter, the Assistant Adjutant General for Air of the West Virginia National Guard. “He has demonstrated passion, perseverance and a commitment to serving the state of West Virginia, its people, and the Airmen of our organization throughout his impressive career. I have no doubt that he will lead the WVANG into the future with determination and fervent success.”

During the ceremony, Walker was presented with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal by Hoyer for his service as the Division Chief, Property and Fiscal Operations Division at the National Guard Bureau, in Arlington, Virginia, from April 2014 through Dec. 2016.

In closing, Hoyer challenged the newly promoted general to focus on providing Airmen with the tools needed to be capable and ready to go at any time.

Walker assumed the role of Chief of Chief of Staff for the West Virginia Air National Guard in Dec. 2016.

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