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Oswald’s first target was JFK’s nemesis

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walkerdallasmorningnews1962

The 6-foot-3 Texan is welcomed home to Dallas at Love Field in October 1962 after being arrested for insurrection while protesting the use of federal troops to let a black man enroll in the University of Mississippi. Photo courtesy of the Dallas Morning News

An anti-communist and outspoken critic of the Kennedy brothers was shot at by Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassin’s first attempt to become famous by murdering a public figure. The historical footnote is examined in Dallas 1963, a book that will be published next week.

Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker made the cover of Newsweek in 1961 as the “Thunder on the Right.”  He was a controversial Texan — reputedly a John Bircher and pro-segregationist who was effectively fired from command in Germany by President Kennedy, and later thrown in jail by his brother, the attorney general, during riots in Oxford, Miss., in September 1962.

Little did he know that the next year he would become entwined in history with his political enemy.

The Army veteran was finishing up his taxes on the warm evening of April 10, 1963. The lamps were blazing, the windows open. “It was right at 9 o’clock,” Walker recalled. “I heard a blast and a crack right over my head.”

Oswald had missed. But he didn’t know it. The onetime Marine marksman went home and told his wife: “I shot Walker.”

Only the general’s arm was nicked — in four or five places — presumably by the jacket of the bullet that put a hole in the wall above his chair.

Walker didn’t die until 20 years ago this month at 83.

h/t Allan Peppard’s great read in The Dallas Morning News

You can read an excerpt of Dallas 1963 at the Daily Beast

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