John T. Walton

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John Thomas Walton, (October 8, 1946June 27, 2005), was a son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. He was the chairman of True North Partners, a venture capital firm.

The wreckage of Walton's experimental aircraft in Grand Teton National Park.
The wreckage of Walton's experimental aircraft in Grand Teton National Park.

Walton is a notable graduate of Bentonville High School, a public high school, where he was a star football player. Walton went on to continue his studies and later drop out from the College of Wooster located in Wooster, Ohio in order to enroll in the U.S. Army and fight in the Vietnam War. He joined in 1968, after the Tet Offensive. During the war he served in the Green Berets as part of the Special Operations Group. He was involved in a battle in the A Shau Valley in Laos, where he was the medic and second-in-command in a unit named "Strike Team Louisiana". An account of the battle can be found in the book Across the Fence: The Secret War in Vietnam (ISBN 0974361801) by John Stryker Meyer. Eventually he received a Silver Star for bravery in combat.

As part of the Philanthropy Roundtable, in 1998 Walton and friend Ted Forstmann established the Children's Scholarship Fund to provide tuition assistance for low-income families wanting to give their children the best possible education through attendance at a private school. He was a passionate advocate of school vouchers.

On June 27, 2005 Walton died when the CGS Hawk Arrow [1] homebuilt aircraft (Experimental Aircraft under FAA regulation) that he was piloting crashed in Jackson, Wyoming. Walton's plane crashed at 12:20 pm local time (1820 GMT) shortly after taking off from Jackson Hole Airport.

Just before his death, Walton was estimated to be worth US$18.2 billion by Forbes magazine and he was tied with his brother Jim as the 4th richest person in the United States [2] and 11th-richest person in the world.

Walton is survived by his wife, Christy, and son, Luke; his mother, Helen; two brothers, Rob and Jim; and a sister, Alice.

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