Walter I. McDonell

Walt was born in Chicago, IL, and lived in the Midwest until settling in Portland, Oregon, for his high school years.  He graduated from Franklin High School in 1951 and attended Oregon State University prior to being appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy.


Plebe summer Walt quickly got into the swing of things by becoming the plebe boxing champion for his weight.  He then retired from boxing and applied himself to academics, inter-mural sports, and developing many good friends.  Being outgoing, energetic, creative and always ready to help others, Walt did well as a Midshipman. 


Upon graduation Walt selected Naval Aviation, completed flight training at Pensacola and then joined VA-212 at NAS Moffett Field flying FJ’s.  In 1959 he completed his first Western Pacific deployment and in mid-1960 was in the final stages of preparing for his second deployment.  On 13 July, 1960, while practicing “night bounces” at NAAF Crows Landing, Walt was killed in a midair with another aircraft in the pattern.  Walt had volunteered to check out the other aircraft that had been damaged by hitting a runway light on its take off roll. 


Walt is interred in Lincoln Memorial Park cemetery in Portland, Oregon.