Saturday, August 01, 2009

Army Cpl. Jonathan M. Walls

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. Jonathan M. Walls, 27, of West Lawn, Pa.

Cpl. Walls was assigned to 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.; died Aug. 1, 2009 in Mushan village, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his patrol with improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades. Also killed were Army Pfc. Richard K. Jones and Army Pvt. Patrick S. Fitzgibbon.

Reading Eagle -- Despite the dangers, Army Cpl. Jonathan M. Walls loved his job.

And it was while carrying out his duty that the 27-year-old soldier formerly of West Lawn lost his life. He and two other soldiers were killed Saturday when their patrol was attacked by insurgents in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

According to Walls' father, Steven A. Walls, the Army wasn't always in sight for the 2001 Wilson High School graduate.

In fact, Jonathan struggled with plans for the future, unsure of what he wanted to do, his father said.

Steven Walls suggested he join the military.

"I was hoping he'd go into the Navy. We're a Navy family," he said. "But he was really into the shoot-em-up games when he was a kid."

So, Jonathan decided to join the Army, where he quickly found himself living out his video-game dreams.

"He loved it," Steven Walls said, explaining that Jonathan was initially assigned to drive the heavily armored Stryker vehicle. "He said, 'Dad, it's just like the video games.' "

But it wasn't just action that Jonathan was looking for. Steven, who lives in Blackwood, N.J., said his son had a good heart and always wanted to help others.

"If you asked him to do anything for you he would," he said. "He really wanted to make an impact."

Steven said his son already had made an impact by becoming a father. He had two daughters with his wife, Meghan, and adopted her son from a previous relationship, Steven said.

"His kids were his life," Steven said. "He lived for them."

The father, a retired Navy man, often worried about his son. Since Jonathan left for Afghanistan about three months ago, he hadn't been able to contact his family for fear of giving out his unit's position, Steven said.

"I worried about him every day," Steven said. "I'd watch the TV every day to see the reports, to see if I could see his face."

But the torture of not knowing doesn't compare to the pain of waiting, Steven said Monday night from Dover, Del., where he was awaiting a plane carrying his son's body.

"I'm freaking right now," he said. "I never expected to bury my own son, but now I'm going to have to do it. It's going to be the hardest thing I've ever done."

Army Cpl. Jonathan M. Walls was killed in action on 8/1/09.

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