John T. Walton was an American war veteran and one of the sons of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. Born and raised in Newport, Arkansas, John graduated from Bentonville High School. He was a very talented athlete and a star of his school football team. He had an artistic inclination right from his childhood. As he loved playing flute, he dropped out of college to spend more playing the flute and enlisted in the United States Army. He served in the Vietnam War; he was honoured with a Silver Star for his bravery during the war. Following the culmination of the Vietnam War, he returned back to the United States and began working as a pilot in Walmart. He also founded his own companies (Satloc and Corsair Marine). He was an adventure sports enthusiast and indulged in skiing, mountain biking, hiking, skydiving, and scuba diving. He was flying an ‘experimental aircraft’ on the afternoon of June 27, 2005, when his plane crashed and he died in the incident.
Childhood & Early Life
John T. Walton was born John Thomas Walton, on October 8, 1946, in Newport, Arkansas, USA, to Sam and Helen Walton. He was the second born child in the family and had two brothers (Rob Walton, Jim Walton) and one sister (Alice Walton).
His father, Sam, was the founder of Walmart, the world renowned retail chain. Sam left the military service in 1945 and took over management of his variety store at the age of 26.
While all the other Walton siblings went on to work at Walmart, John initially showed no interest. He finished his graduation from the Bentonville High School, where he was quite active in games and sports. He played football and was a star of his school team.
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Following his high school education, he moved to Ohio and enrolled at the College of Wooster. He, however, dropped out of college, much to the dismay of his father. He loved playing the flute and as he wanted to spend more time playing the flute, he dropped out of the college. .Following his father’s footsteps, John enlisted in the US Army during the America-Vietnam conflict.
He fought in the Vietnam War. Initially, he was a part of study and observations group and served in the Green Berets. He served as a medic and was involved in combat in the ‘A Shau Valley’ and in ‘Laos.’ During the combat, he was second in command of the ‘Spike Team Louisiana.’ He received a ‘Silver Star honor’ for his bravery on the battlefield.
He served in what was known as the SOG (Special Operations Group), also known more famously for carrying out many attacks in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Those attacks were also known as America’s ‘Secret War.’
He also became a member of SOG ‘Hatchet Force’, which had many small teams consisting of two or three American soldiers and a few indigenous warriors. The warriors in the SOG forces were highly skilled, loyal, and brave.
Following end of the Vietnam War, John came back to the United States, but was still highly uninterested in joining Walmart full time. He instead chose to be a pilot and went on to work as a pilot for Walmart.
He, however, got bored of it very soon and left his father’s company to work as a pilot of the crop-dusting planes in the cotton fields of southern American states. He also co-founded an aerial application company ‘Satloc,’ which was a pioneer in using the GPS technology for crop dusting.
John then moved to San Diego, California, where he started another company ‘Corsair Marine,’ a trimaran sailboats manufacturing company.
Apart from his business ventures, John was an adventure sports lover. He indulged in skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and scuba diving.
He also served as the chairman of True North Partners, a venture capital firm, and established the ‘Children’s Scholarship Fund.’ The fund provides the low income group students with financial aids to help them study in private schools. Founded in 1998, the fund has helped 25,700 kids to study in private schools. John also openly advocated ‘School Vouchers.’
He was honoured with the coveted ‘William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership’ for his philanthropic activities.
Family, Personal Life & Death
John T. Walton first got married to Mary Ann Gunn, but the marriage did not last long and ended in a divorce.
Thereafter John married Christy Walton and the couple remained together until his demise in 2005. John’s onlya son, Lukas, was born to Christy Walton in 1986/87.
John was flying a CGS Hawk Arrow ultra-light aircraft, which has been registered as an experimental aircraft under FAA regulations on June 27, 2005, in Jackson, Wyoming. Shortly after it took off, the plane crashed at about 12:20 PM, killing John instantly.
During the investigations, it was found out by the ‘National Transportation Safety Board’ that the accident took place due to a human error. Apparently, John had improperly reinstalled the rear locking collar on the elevator control torque tube. This badly affected the plane’s pitch control, without which aircraft’s attitude (flying dynamics) could not have been controlled, leading to the unfortunate accident.
It was revealed shortly before his death that his net worth was $18.2 billion, making him the fourth richest man in the USA and the 11th richest man in the world. His wife received his inheritance, becoming the richest woman in the world.