Memorial Day 2006: CDR Kirk T. Walsh
He declined to accept a Purple Heart after being injured during a mission while serving as commander of a Marine flight squadron, believing that he couldn’t in good conscience accept the award because so many others had lost so much more. Despite his injury, Cmdr. Walsh helped his crew evade capture for nearly 24 hours until they were rescued.
In November 1969, Walsh was serving as aircraft commander and fire team leader of an armed helicopter detachment. When his base at Vinh Gia came under heavy attack, Cmdr. Walsh led a dash from a bunker to his aircraft. The citation for his Distinguished Flying Cross states that, “Subsequent devastating rocket and machine gun runs destroyed three enemy firing positions and probably a fourth. and “His immediate and decisive reaction to the enemy attack was instrumental in preventing severe damage to the support base and in lessening personnel casualties.”
After his Naval career, CDR Walsh, a recovering alcoholic himself, served as a substance abuse counselor and later as an ombudsman volunteer for Aging and Independence Services in conjunction with his county's Health and Human Services Agency. He also developed a partnership with the Veterans Administration to serve veterans through a homeless outreach program and was instrumental in starting "Stand Down", a program in Balboa Park that has provided shelter and services for homeless veterans for 18 years.
Job well done, Commander. Bravo Zulu.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune