Cover photo for Walter Stanley Szachara's Obituary
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Walter Stanley Szachara

August 17, 1938 — July 4, 2022

Madison

Walter Stanley Szachara

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Szachara, Walter Stanley


Colonel Walter S. Szachara (USAF, Ret), 83, passed into the arms of his Lord on July 4, 2022 at his home in Madison, AL. He was born on August 17, 1938 in Endicott, New York to Walter J. (Sharkey) Szachara  and Tessie J. (Budny) Szachara. Walt is survived by his wife of 58 years, Tanya P. (Mikulen) Szachara. A son and daughter in law, Gregory & Karen Szachara of Sparks, Nevada. A son and daughter in law, Scott and Jennifer Szachara of Chantilly, Virginia.  A daughter & son in law, Myra (Szachara) Guido & LTC David Guido (USA, Ret) of Madison, Alabama.  A sister and brother in law, Diane & Jack Prince, of Vestal, New York.  Seven grandchildren: Gabrielle, Samantha, Veronica, Evelyn, and Eva Szachara, and Alexander Guido. 

Walt grew up in Endicott, NY.  After graduating from Endicott High in 1956, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for one year and participated in the Air ROTC program in 1957. Choosing a different course, Walt worked on the Ballistic Missile Early Warning Radar System for the Military Division of GE, then moved to the Federal Systems Division of IBM as an engineering technician and team leader for various projects such as the Apollo Capsule guidance system and the ground test equipment for the Titan IIIC Rocket.

 

 In 1961, he volunteered to serve his country and entered the last class of Aviation Cadets. On November 7, 1962 he was commissioned a 2LT and received an aeronautical rating of Navigator.  His military career spanned 31years, with travel or assignments to all States in America and over 55 countries in the world.  Walt did three tours and flew over 100 combat missions in Vietnam while serving as a squadron navigator  with the 360th TEWS.   His later military career included teaching navigation, logistics and modernizing military computer operations. His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor, Vietnam Service Medal with 1 silver star and 3 bronze stars,  and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Device.  Walt earned a BA in Management, Summa Cum Laude via night school, in 1964.  He retired from the US Air Force in 1992.

Walt was an avid and lifelong ham radio operator (W2OKF) and also volunteered his time on the MARS net.  He lived with his wife in Foley, AL after retiring, until 2020, when they moved to Madison, AL.  A Patriot to the end, he chose to leave this life on the Fourth of July.  

 

Walt was laid to rest on September 26, 2022, with full military honors, at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC. 

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