David William Walsh
Captain, United States Army
Full Name: DAVID WILLIAM WALSH
The Army labeled Captain David Walsh’s body “unviewable” when it was returned from Vietnam.
His wife, Bonnie, at first thought the military had made a mistake. The 28-year-old was supposed to leave his position for another assignment just before he was killed on June 10, 1969.
But her father advised her not to look at the body in the casket, telling her she should not have that image as her final memory of him, Bonnie Walsh Ward recalled Monday.
In a ceremony at the state Department of Veterans Affairs, Walsh Ward was presented with her late husband’s dog tag, recovered from Vietnam 35 years after his death.
“This is something I can really hold,” she said, tearfully. “When I’m in Arlington (National Cemetery) I can visit the casket, but I never did look — to make sure."
Bonnie Walsh Ward later became active in organizing a reunion for the rest of her husband’s infantry company, and another group found her through that work to present the tag.
U.S. dog tags, listing soldiers’ names, identification numbers, blood type and religion, are frequently sold and traded in modern Vietnam, Linda Stocker said. She’s part of Tours of Peace Vietnam Veterans, which helps veterans return to the country.
“They will come upon them, sometimes in a jewelry shop, sometimes from street vendors,” Stocker said, adding in less than 10 years of tours, more than 1,700 tags have been returned through the program.
Walsh Ward, of Bellevue, Washington, said she had only one request of the modern military, that it provide today’s soldiers an opportunity to deposit their sperm in a bank before leaving for action.
Her husband and almost all of the young men in his company had no children, so those who died also lost their lineage, she explained.
“Besides writing a will, take care of the rest
of the stuff for the family,” she said. “It’s not political, it’s just
In connection with his service in Vietnam, Captain Walsh was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal. He was also acredited with the Combat Infantryman Badge.
BY DIRECTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
IS AWARDED POSTHUMOUSLY TO
CAPTAIN DAVID W. WALSH, UNITED STATES ARMY
FOR EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM IN CONNECTION WITH MILITARY OPERATIONS INVOLVING CONFLICT WITH AN ARMED HOSTILE FORCE IN THE REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM: CAPTAIN WALSH DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF BY EXCEPTIONALLY VALOROUS ACTIONS ON 10 JUNE 1969 WHILE SERVING AS THE COMMANDER OF COMBAT OPERATIONS NEAR THE VILLAGE OF PHOUC LOC IN QUANG NGAI PROVINCE.
HE WAS DIRECTING HIS COMPANY INTO A BLOCKING POSITION WHEN A NORTH VIETNAMESE FORCE ARMED WITH MACHINE GUNS, GRENADES, AND SMALL ARMS ATTACKED AND PINNED DOWN THE UNIT.
CAPTAIN WALSH IMMEDIATELY ORGANIZED A REACTION FORCE TO ENGAGE THE FLANKING AMBUSH POSITIONS. AS HIS SMALL ELEMENT BEGAN TO CLOSE IN, AUTOMATIC RIFLE FIRE BURST FROM A CONCEALED EMPLACEMENT. CAPTAIN WALSH SINGLE-HANDEDLY CHARGED THE POSITION KILLING THE ENEMY SOLDIER AND CAPTURING HIS WEAPON. AS HE LEAD HIS GROUP FORWARD, HE ENCOUNTERED HOSTILE FIRE AND QUICKLY SHOT THE ENEMY SOLDIER. WHEN A THIRD SNIPER OPENED FIRE ON THE GROUP, CAPTAIN WALSH ONCE MORE RUSHED FORWARD TO ELIMINATE THE HOSTILE TROOPER. WHILE ENGAGING THE THIRD SNIPER HE WAS MORTALLY WOUNDED BY ENEMY FIRE.
CAPTAIN WALSH'S EXTRAORDINARY HEROISM AND DEVOTION
TO DUTY, AT THE COST OF HIS LIFE, WERE IN KEEPING WITH THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS
OF THE MILITARY SERVICE AND REFLECT GREAT CREDIT UPON HIMSELF, HIS UNIT,
AND THE UNITED STATES ARMY.