Skip to main content


Return to Previous Page

Our Founder, Captain Sam Walton

Sam Walton: Vision & Values

“We’re in business to serve people.” Former Walmart COO Don Soderquist talks about Sam Walton, his approach to business, and why he so admired and respected him.

A Military Tradition

Our dedication to military families and veterans is part of who we are and dates back to World War II – when our founder, Sam Walton, served as an Army captain from 1942 to 1945, stationed stateside because of a heart condition. His brother, Bud Walton, co-founder of Walmart, also served during the war as a Navy bomber pilot in the Pacific. And John Walton, Sam’s son, proudly served as a Green Beret medic in Vietnam (receiving the Silver Star for bravery in combat).

Sam started what would eventually become Walmart with $5,000 he saved from his Army tenure, opening Walton’s Five and Dime in Bentonville, AR, in 1951. He then went on to build an international retail success story in large part modeled after the military values he so diligently admired.

An Honored Man Who Always Honored His Associates

Sam was always the first to credit Walmart’s success to the associates who worked for him, and he made sure that information regarding the company’s objectives and results was not just held by top executives, but shared by all.

In 1992, Sam Walton received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H.W. Bush for “his strong commitment to service and to the values that help individuals, businesses and the country succeed.” This is the highest honor our country can bestow on a private citizen, and it was during his acceptance speech that Sam first publicly expressed Walmart’s proud mission moving forward...

"If we work together, we'll lower the cost of living for everyone... we'll give the world an opportunity to see what it's like to save and have a better life."

Learn more about Sam's life and journey with Walmart

Walmart: The Early Years

From a single store to a billion-dollar enterprise, learn more about Walmart’s humble beginnings and growth.

Sam Walton Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

“It’s about leadership, determination and decency.” Learn more about Walmart’s founder and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Sam Walton.