Walter Koraleski (later changed to Koral) was born on April 30, 1920, in Detroit, Michigan. He entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on November 3, 1941, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Foster Field, Texas, on May 20, 1942. Lt Koraleski's first assignment was as an instructor pilot with the 50th Fighter Group at Orlando Army Air Field, Florida, from May 1942 to February 1943. He then joined the 354th Fighter Squadron of the 355th Fighter Group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and went with the group to England in July 1943. Koraleski was credited with destroying 5.533 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, 2 aircraft damaged on the ground, 1 balloon, and 2 locomotives before being shot down and taken as a Prisoner of War on April 15, 1944. He was held at Stalag Luft 3 at Sagan-Silesia, Bavaria, and was later moved to Nurembert-Langwasser, before being repatriated on April 29, 1945. Koraleski returned to the U.S. in May 1945, and after rest and recuperation he was assigned to Luke Field, Arizona, from August to November 1945, and then to Selfridge Field, Michigan, from November 1945 until he left active duty on November 17, 1946. Col Koral remained in the Air Force Reserve until returning to Active Duty on July 12, 1951. He served as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer at Selfridge AFB, Michigan, from July to November 1951, and then with the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing in Korea from December 1951 to November 1952. After Korea, he served with Air Research and Development Command in Baltimore, Maryland, from November 1952 to January 1954, followed by an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment to complete his degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan from January 1954 to February 1956. Col Koral next served as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer with the 432nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the 475th Fighter Group at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Minnesota, from February 1956 to November 1957, followed by service as Chief of the SM-62 Snark missile Weapon System Project Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, from November 1957 to September 1960. He then continued on at Wright-Patterson as a project officer on other projects until June 1961, when he went to Holloman AFB, New Mexico, where he served as a Field Test Officer until returning to Wright-Patterson in July 1964. His final assignment was Systems Program Director, Chief of Test & Deployment, and Systems Program Manager for the AGM-69 SRAM missile project from July 1964 until his retirement from the Air Force on November 25, 1968. Walter Koral died on November 23, 1992, and was buried at the Bay Pines National Cemetery in Bay Pines, Florida.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For gallantry in action, while leading a Squadron of P-51 fighter aircraft furnishing support for bombers withdrawing from a mission over Germany, 6 March 1944. When nine (9) ME-109 planes attacked two straggling bombers, Captain Koraleski led a flight down and pressed his assault with such ferocity that the enemy were dispersed, allowing the two crippled bombers to escape. During this encounter, he personally destroyed one enemy fighter. Immediately thereafter, Captain Koraleski, with his wingman, dove his plane to tree top level in a vicious attack on two more ME-109's. Exhibiting superior combat skill, he attacked the rear aircraft, causing it to hit the trees and cartwheel into the ground. He then pursued the remaining fighter and destroyed it. The gallantry, disregard for personal safety and skill in combat displayed by Captain Koraleski contributed in a large measure to the safe return of the bomber formation.