Richard Ambrose Walsh

United States Air Force
28 April 1926 - 04 October 1979
St Paul, Minnesota
Panel 32W Line 039

Silver Star

USAF Command Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Richard Ambrose Walsh

21 Oct 2004

Richard Walsh was 41 years old and was a husband and a father of five children, now grown, who wonder why he was sent to fly such a dangerous aircraft where so many men were shot down out of the sky, in this A-1 propeller aircraft. His adult children now think like civilians, who never have served in the United States Armed Forces, in times of conflict. They think that family men should be spared such hazardous duty. "It is not like this," is the reply. It would not occur to him to ask to have that consideration, as many of these men had families also. These heroic men have a code of honor that transcends their personal safety. What is it? Honor among them, and uncommon personal courage, intelligence, wisdom, and youthful optimism about the task to be completed. The study of military history will show that throughout times past, there are hundreds of thousands of these human beings who know that there are evils to be fought to the death. We mourn our personal loss and this honorable person who was in our lives for a short time. We the survivors, are always with them now, and then at the hour of their death, to live our long goodbye, not to see their beloved faces again here, as they walk on. In Flanders Field where poppies grow, or near the Mekong river in the foothills of Laos they rest.

Sharon Walsh
E-mail address is not available.

19 Mar 2007

This man's name, Richard Walsh, has been on my brother's wrist for so long. I hope the family finally finds some peace. We are proud to speak his name and pray for him and his family ... this country was made by men like him. We thank God for him and the others like him. God bless America and those that love it.

Tim and Lita Collins

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 14 Feb 1969 an F-4D (serial 65-0651, 497th TFS) flown by LtCol Stanley S. Clark and 1stLt Gordon K. Breault was shot down about 20 miles northeast of Saravane, Laos. Breault contacted his wingman while still parachuting down but there was no evidence that Clark had ejected from the F-4D. Although SAR efforts were begun at once, Breault was not picked up before nightfall.

Early on the 15th two A-1 Skyraiders from the 602nd SOS at Nakon Phanom launched to provide SAR support; LtCol Richard Walsh was the section lead and SAR coordinator for the effort to locate and recover Clark and Breault. A pair of HH-3s and two other A-1s stood off as the rescue force. Enemy AAA fire was fairly intense, and Walsh and his wingman set out to suppress the AAA guns. Walsh's A-1J, serial 52-142080, was hit by 37mm fire while at about 1,000 feet and went into the jungle.

Breault was eventually picked up, but no contact was ever made with either LtCol Clark or LtCol Walsh. Both men initially were classed as Missing in Action. An Air Force review board determined that all available evidence indicated that Clark never left his aircraft and recommended that his status be changed to Killed in Action/Body not Recovered. LtCol Walsh remained in MIA status until the Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death on 04 Oct 1979. Both men were promoted to Colonel while in MIA status. Their remains have not been recovered.

A-1 Skyraider
The 602nd Fighter Squadron was reactivated at Bien Hoa Air Base in 1964 and endured several redesignations before it was deactivated on 31 Dec 1970. It first became the 602nd Fighter Commando Squadron, then it became the 602nd Air Commando Squadron, and on 01 Aug 1968 it was redesignated the 602nd Special Operations Squadron. The squadron's operating base changed even more frequently than its name; from Bien Hoa it went to Nha Trang for a brief period, thence to Udorn RTAFB, and finally in March 1968 moved to Nakon Phanom RTAFB. The squadron operated several versions of the A-1 Skyraider, providing strike and SAR support in South Vietnam and later in Laos. During its 6 years of service the squadron lost 80 aircraft and at least 38 pilots.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 21 Oct 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009