Walt Cross was born in 1949 at Fort Hood, Texas. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on October 20, 1967, and was trained as a medical corpsman. Cross's first assignment was as an ambulance driver in the 690th Medical Company at Fort Benning, Georgia. In response to the enemy offensive during TET '68, 17 medics were reassigned from the 690th to South Vietnam, including Cross. He reported to Battery A, 1st Battalion, 7th Artillery of the 1st Infantry Division in December 1968. The battery operated along Highway One in and near the Iron Triangle of South Vietnam, and during his service in Vietnam, Cross was decorated with the Bronze Star for heroism in ground combat during the fight for Fire Support Base "Jim". Thirty days later he received his second Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in military medicine. After leaving Vietnam in January 1970, Sgt Cross served in Europe and stateside on recruiting duty until October 1979, when he transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve as one of the first AGR (Active Guard and Reserve) soldiers and remained on active duty serving with the 291st Infantry Regiment of the 95th Infantry Division until May 1985, when he served 6 months as senior medical operations sergeant with an Army Reserve hospital in Alabama. Cross next attended the U.S. Army Sergeant Major Academy, graduating with class XXVII in July 1986. He then returned to the 95th Infantry Division and served as the senior infantry operations sergeant with the 3rd Brigade until his retirement from the Army on June 1, 1988. Walt continues to serve military members as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Committee of the ESGR, a Department of Defense program insuring military members of the Guard and Reserve get their jobs back upon completion of service and are not discriminated against in the work place.
His 1st (of 2) Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device Citation reads:
For action on 9 September 1969. For heroism not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: On this date, Specialist Cross was serving as a medical aidman with his unit when the friendly encampment was suddenly subjected to an intense rocket-propelled grenade barrage followed by a massive human assault which caused numerous casualties. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Specialist Cross left his relatively secure position and maneuvered through the hostile fusillade to the aid of his fallen comrades. After administering first aid to the injured personnel, Specialist Cross organized the prompt removal of the casualties to the medical evacuation zone. His courageous initiative and selfless concern for the welfare of his fellow soldiers were instrumental in saving several friendly lives. Specialist Cross' outstanding display of aggressiveness, devotion to duty, and personal bravery is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.