BACHUS WALTER OTIS BACHUS Bridadier General, USA (Ret.) Brigadier General WALTER OTIS BACHUS, USA (Ret) of Alexandria, VA, devoted husband of Helen Bachus died May 3, 2014 at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. He was 87. He had his family with him when he passed away. General Bachus was born in Grand Saline, Texas in 1926. In 1930, he moved to Tyler, Texas and remained there until he enlisted in the military. In Tyler, he attended Gary Elementary, Hogg Junior High and Tyler Senior High School. He lettered in football in Junior and Senior High playing Center and Middle Linebacker. He then attended Tyler Junior College for one semester where he played basketball and lettered as a guard. In July 1944, he enlisted in the Air Force in the US Enlisted Specialized Training Program and was sent to Louisiana State University (LSU) for two semesters until October 1945. At LSU, he was in training to enter the Army Air Corps preflight school to become a pilot, but was told shortly thereafter that the demand for pilots had dropped and that the war (WWII) was going to be over soon. He was then offered three choices: 1) get an immediate discharge from the service, 2) go to flight school to become a flight engineer (warrant officer) aboard a B-29 or 3) go directly to the Infantry. He chose option #2. Walt went to Air Corps Basic training at Sheppard Field, Texas (Oct 45 - Dec 45), where he also attended Communications Training since they no longer needed crewman for the B-29s. In January 1946, he served in World War II with his assignment to Orleans, France as an Enlisted Communications Specialist. When the war was over, he was assigned to Eschborn Air Base near Frankfurt, Germany (predecessor of today's Rhein Main). Walt took a discharge to become a Civil Service employee and remain in Germany so he could marry his fiancé, Helga (Helen) Singer. Helen was stationed as a US Civil Service employee for British citizens working as an interpreter on General Eisenhower's staff. On 12 December 1946, Walt and Helen got married in London, England. General Bachus continued his civil service employment until February 1947 when he returned to his home in Tyler, Texas. Shortly thereafter, he entered Texas A&M University to finish his college education which had been cut short by the war and graduated in 1950 with a BS in Industrial Engineering. While a member of the Corps of Cadets, he became an active member of the Society of American Military Engineer (SAME) and remained a member throughout his professional career. He was designated as a Distinguished Military Graduate and commissioned as 2ND LT in the Regular Army with the Army Corps of Engineers. General Bachus was immediately sent to Korea where the war had just started in July 1950. He joined the 7th Infantry Division as the 3rd Platoon Leader, A Company, 13th Engineer Combat Battalion. The Division was training in Japan for combat deployments to Korea. Along with the Marines, his division made an amphibious landing at the Korean port in Inchon. Following the Inchon Landing, he proceeded south to Pusan, and then made another amphibious landing on the Korean East coast at Hongson which is deep in North Korea. He then went north through the windy, snow-packed mountainous terrain to the Yalu River bordering on China. In December 1950, he returned south to participate in the Hungnam evacuation. He then went further south and again landed at Pusan. He then moved northward in South Korea towards what was later established as the DMZ. He returned home in 1951. In August 1951, General Bachus attended the Engineer Officer Basic Couse at Fort Belvoir, VA and in December 1951 he was assigned as an Engineer in training at the Corps' Ft. Worth District as an Engineer in training. In May 1953, he attended training in Army depot operations in Granite City, IL. In July 1955, General Bachus attended the Army Engineer Officers Advanced Course and graduated in 1956. From there, he went to New York University (NYU) where in June 1957 he received a Master's Degree in Industrial and Management Engineering and became a registered professional engineer. From NYU, General Bachus returned to Rhein Main (Frankfurt) Germany, where he served as a Brigade Comptroller. In June 1960 he was sent to the Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, KS. In June 1961, he went to the Pentagon where he served in the Engineer Assignments Office, Office of the Chief of Engineers. In August 1964, he went back to Korea and was assigned to the Eighth Army G-3 office as an action officer for the commanding general, General Hamilton. In August 1965 he attended the Armed Forces Staff College and upon graduation, transferred to Fort Hood, Texas where he assumed command of the 17th Armored Engineer Battalion in the 2nd Armored Division. In June 1967, he attended the Army War College in Carlisle, PA and upon graduation he was assigned to the Pentagon as the Executive Officer to the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, LTG Bill DePuy. In June 1970, he assumed command of the 45th Engineer Group in Military Region One which bordered North Vietnam. In June 1971, he left Vietnam and was assigned as the District Engineer of the Seattle, Washington district. While there, he attended the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at Harvard University and graduated in May 1973. He was also the SAME Seattle Post President while in Seattle. In September 1973 he was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned as the Corps' North Central Division Engineer in Chicago, ILL. In March 1976 he returned to Washington DC where he was assigned as the Director, Facilities Engineering in the Office of the Chief of Engineers. He was also a member of the SAME National Board of Direction from 1975 to 1977. In September 1978 he retired from Active duty with over 30 years of service to our Nation. In October 1978, he became the Executive Director of the Society of American Military Engineers where he served until fully retiring in June 1993. He was "Mr. SAME" during those 15 years to both those in uniform and those in industry. Helen Bachus, Walt's wife of 67 years, was just as much a part of SAME - she was SAME's First Lady. General Bachus is the only two-time recipient of the Society's Gold Medal. SAME's love and admiration for Walt became evident when in 2005 the Board of Direction approved the name of the Society's highest Medal, the Gold Medal, to the "Walter O. Bachus Gold Medal". He is survived by his wife, Helen; his son, Bruce Bachus and his daughter, Leslie Koslow. The family only interment will be conducted at 11 a.m. on September 9 at the Arlington National Cemetery following the rendering of Full Military Honors. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions for Brigadier General Walter Bachus may be made to The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA or the SAME Education and Mentoring Fund.In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions for Brigadier General Walter Bachus may be made to The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA or the SAME Education and Mentoring Fund.
Published by The Washington Post on Aug. 24, 2014.