Colonel Walter F. Partin was born in Washington, D.C. on June 26, 1911. His outstanding contribution to the Ordnance Corps was in depot operations. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in September 1940 and received an "on-the-spot" promotion to colonel in February 1945 by General Dwight D. Eisenhower for exemplary service.
He was the driving force behind ammunition supply before, during, and after the invasion of France. His leadership was so superb that commanders in Europe placed him in command of all the ammunition depots in occupied Germany. Perhaps his finest moment came during his command of the 166th Ordnance Battalion. In December 1944, during a Nazi breakthrough offensive, an incendiary bomb dropped in the rail yard, setting afire a number of freight cars loaded with ammunition. Throughout the night and amid almost uninterrupted explosions, several hundred ammunition cars were pulled out of the fire zones and moved to safety. While in Soissons (a major ammunition depot), he created a revolutionary process to expedite the movement of ammunition by maintaining a mobile reserve of railcars at the rail yard. This created a target, but increased the tonnage and decreased the time involved in resupply.
During the early days of the occupation, there was a giant industrial fire in Mannheim, Germany. Once again, he led military and civilian personnel to safety and saved the industrial site. After the war, he commanded such vital depots as Seneca and Pueblo. Upon retirement, he continued with the U.S. government and was instrumental in the installation of computer systems for the U.S. Army in the Pacific.
His last significant act was in Vietnam where he assisted during the evacuation and was one of the last to leave. Colonel Partin retired from civil service in 1979 and is now deceased.