Wally Newcomb was born in 1940 in Easton, Pennsylvania. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Michigan on August 17, 1963, and went on active duty beginning November 13, 1963. Lt Newcomb next completed Undergraduate Pilot Training at Craig AFB, Alabama, in December 1964, and then completed F-105 Thunderchief Combat Crew Training in August 1965. His first assignment was as an F-105 pilot with the 9th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem AB, West Germany, from September 1965 to February 1967, followed by service as an F-105 pilot with the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from March 1967 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on August 3, 1967. After spending 2,051 days in captivity, Capt Newcomb was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Westover AFB, Massachusetts, and then served as a transport pilot with the 1st Composite Squadron at Andrews AFB, Maryland, from April 1974 until he left active duty on December 10, 1976. He then worked for Corning Glass in Corning, New York from 1976 to 1979. Col Newcomb joined the New York Air National Guard on April 12, 1979, and served as an F-101 Voodoo, F-4 Phantom II, and F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with the 136th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Niagara Falls International Airport in Niagara Falls, New York, until his retirement on January 1, 1992. During this time, he attended Cornell University and graduated with an MBA in 1981, and worked for Sierra Research Company in Buffalo, New York, in their marketing department. After retiring from the NY Air National Guard, Wally taught High School algebra and economics at Corning Community College in Corning, New York.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
During the Period May 1969: This officer distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force while held Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. After a planned escape from the "Zoo Camp", the enemy launched a massive torture purge attempting to gain prisoner secrets and propaganda materials. Tortured well beyond the normal threshold of pain, he continued to resist the enemy. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Captain Newcomb has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.