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Honoring Service: Veteran Walter P. Bulkley

SPECIAL NOTICE: The City of Rye is looking for any and all veterans missing from its veteran monuments. It is the first effort to update the monuments since 1980. Learn more about this project and how to make sure no Rye veteran is forgotten.

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Honoring Service - 062023 - Walter P. Bulkley
Walter P. Bulkley

Walter P. Bulkley, born on July 16, 1920, in Port Chester, New York, was the son of Matilda and Walter Pell Bulkley. The family resided at 49 Tyler Circle in Rye. Walter’s father, a World War I veteran, worked as a carpenter, while his mother took care of the household. They were members of Christ’s Church.

Date of Birth: 7/16/1920
Died On: 2/27/1978
Street Address: 49 Tyler Cir
Service Number: unknown
Branch of Service: U.S. Navy-WWII

In 1939, Walter graduated from Rye High School. During his time there, he actively participated in various clubs, including the Radio Club, Senior Camera Club, and Drivers Club. His senior quote was: “Hear ye not the hum of the mighty workings?” Following his graduation, he attended the Stewart Technical School of Aeronautics in New York City.

On July 1, 1943, Walter enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served with the Seabees as a Seaman, First Class, in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre. The United States Naval Construction Battalions, known as the Navy Seabees, formed the U.S. Naval Construction Force (NCF). The Seabees, derived from the first letters “C B” of the words Construction Battalion, replaced civilian construction companies in combat zones after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Prior to that, civilian contractors employed around 70,000 workers under U.S.N. contracts overseas. International law prevented these civilian workers from resisting attacks, as doing so would classify them as guerrillas and put them at risk of summary execution.

The CBs were conceived as a military counterpart to the civilian companies, capable of operating anywhere under any circumstances. They proved to be flexible and adaptable, suitable for deployment in various theaters of operations. The integration between NCF and Marine Corps elements was facilitated by using the USMC organization. Adm. Ernest King praised the Seabees on their second anniversary, saying, “Your ingenuity and fortitude have become a legend in the naval service.” Seabees firmly believe in their ability to accomplish any assigned task, embracing the motto “Can Do.” Walter was honorably discharged from the Seabees in February 1946.

After the war, Walter resided in Levittown and worked as a maintenance man at Country Federal Bank. He also became a member of the Wantagh Lodge of Masons. He married Ethel Anderson, and they had two daughters. In 1975, Walter returned to Rye and became a parishioner of the Holy Trinity Church in New Rochelle.

Walter P. Bulkley passed away on February 27, 1978, at United Hospital at the age of 57. He is survived by his wife, Ethel, and their two daughters, Joseph S. Gude and Sherri Bulkley.


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