Walter K. Wilson was born on August 26, 1906, at Fort Barrancas, Florida. His father, Gen. Walter King Wilson, was an artillery officer which sparked an interest in Wilson to join the military. Wilson Jr. attended the University of Hawaii for a short amount of time while his father was stationed at Fort Ruger. Later, Wilson attended the Army's West Point Preparatory School at Schofield Barracks and then entered the Military Academy in 1925. He graduated in 1929 and, due to his class standing, was eligible for commission in the Corps of Engineers. Wilson joined the corps per his father’s advice and began his career.