Louisa County Library

Colonel Swank.

Colonel Walbrook D. Swank Collection

A native of Harrisonburg, Virginia, retired Air Force Colonel Walbrook Davis Swank had a long, eventful and productive life. In his 32-year career, his awards included the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, five major command awards for outstanding and meritorious service and a Distinguished Service Citation from the Secretary of the Treasury. He died in 2008.

He was personnel officer on the staffs of the Commanding Generals of the Air Material Command and the 17th AF Service Command, W-PAFB, Ohio; Pacific Overseas Air Technical Service Command, Oakland, California; and the Alaskan Air Command, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.

During WWII his duties included assisting some notable Americans including the President's son, Brig. General Elliott Roosevelt, Brig. General Charles Lindbergh, General Jimmy Doolittle, and Brig. Jimmy Stewart - the movie actor. The Colonel served on the War Department Personnel Research Council and the Federal Personnel Councils in Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California; and Anchorage, Alaska. In 1954, he was assigned to a short tour of duty in the Office of the Personnel Advisor to the President, The White House, during the Eisenhower administration. For nineteen years, he was a member of the Army and Air Force Civilian Welfare Fund.

With a great interest in Southern history and heritage, at age 70, he wrote his first book, Clash of Sabers -- Blue and Gray. The work was about the Civil War experiences of his grandfather, Thomas S. Davis, who was a member of the 10th Virginia Cavalry and a relative of President Jefferson Davis. Sixteen books about the Civil War followed, along with three about WWII.

He was a member of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars from which he received its Distinguished Service Award and the prestigious Henry Timrod Culture Award for his outstanding contributions toward the understanding, appreciation and explanation of Southern arts and letters.

The Civil war buff was a member of the Society of Civil War Historians, Sons of the American Revolution and three Virginia Historical Societies. He was also a past president of the Linworth Kiwanis Club and member of the Ohio State Alumni Association and Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.