COLUMBUS, Ind. — A retired Cummins Inc. engineer widely considered as one of Bartholomew County’s most well-known and respected veterans has died.

John C. Walter, a World War II pilot who survived almost three dozen bombing missions flying a B-17 into enemy territory, died early Tuesday at Four Seasons Retirement Center, said Jim Sellers of the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum. Walter was 96.

After Walter delivered the keynote address last May during the annual Bartholomew County Memorial Day ceremony, the mother of Vice President Mike Pence, Nancy Pence Fritsch, described him as “a phenomenal man.”

Spending much of his youth in Washington, Indiana, Walter joined the Army Air Corps and trained to become a pilot.

Arriving in England in September, 1944, Walter completed his 35th and final mission in the European Theater on March 10, 1945.

Read more in Wednesday’s print edition of The Republic.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.