On Aug. 1, 1959, there was excitement in the air at Tobyhanna Signal Depot, literally. A helicopter carrying Rep. Francis E. Walter (D-PA) was landing at the facility, which is now known as Tobyhanna Army Depot.
Once on the ground, the visiting congressman emerged from the helicopter and was greeted by then-depot commander Col. Clifford Poutre. As the two made their way from the landing site, they received a traditional salute from the depot’s honor guard.
Walter, an esteemed guest, was given a tour of the Coolbaugh Township facility with a brief stop for lunch, which was served at the Summerall Barracks dining hall.
He was then escorted to the newly constructed Tobyhanna Post Office on the main thoroughfare of the nearby village.
Walter spoke to the crowd that had gathered for the building’s dedication and presented Postmaster John Beehler with a 49-star flag, which had once flown over the nation’s Capital.
After the dedication, the congressman was driven back to depot for another tour, this time by helicopter.
He later returned to the Avoca Airport (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport), where he boarded a plane for his return to Washington, D.C.
Born and raised in Easton, Walter practiced law in his home town. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1932, serving until his death in 1963 at the age 69.
Walter was buried Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors in recognition of his service as a congressman and in the military during World War I and II.