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James E. Walker (1874-1918) was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, and attended school in Washington, DC, graduating from M Street High School and Miner Teachers College. He taught in the DC Public Schools for more than 24 years, and served as a principal and administrator. He served with the First Separate Battalion, National Guard, from 1896 until his death in 1918, and commanded it as a major from 1912 until 1918. During World War I (1914-1918), Walker's First Separate Battalion of the Washington, DC, National Guard was charged with guarding Washington's reservoirs and power plants from saboteurs.

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