Sgt. Nicholas R. Walsh
Died: May 26, 2007
27, of Millstadt, Ill.; assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died May 26 from wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq.
Graduate of Birmingham high school remembered as 'proud Marine'
The Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A Marine who enlisted right after his graduation from John Carroll Catholic High School in 1998 was remembered for his desire to make a difference in Iraq, where he was on his second tour of duty when killed by a sniper.
Marine Sgt. Nicholas Walsh, 26, was shot May 26 in Fallujah while out on a patrol.
"He wanted to be there. He felt like he was doing something good," said his mother, Maggie Hall Walsh. "He used to tell me that nobody talks of the good things going on there, but he saw it in the faces of the people - in their waves and their smiles."
"He was prepared, he was ready to go, he knew the stakes," she said. "He was a proud Marine."
Walsh is the son of Jerry Walsh, a former INS special agent in Birmingham, and former Birmingham News reporter Maggie Hall Walsh, who raised Walsh since she married his father when he was five years old. They now live in Fort Collins, Colo.
Nicholas Walsh's wife, Julie, told The Birmingham News on May 28 that he called her shortly before he was shot. She said it was not the time he usually called, and that he explained: "I just woke up and couldn't go back to sleep and felt like I needed to call you."
"In some strange way," Julie Walsh said, "someone was trying to give me that last goodbye. He died a couple of hours later."
"I'm just really going to miss him," she said. "He was a really good husband, and really good dad. He went above and beyond trying to help everybody."
The couple have two sons, Triston, 4, and Tanner, 7 months.
Walsh's grandfather, Walter R. Walsh, who lives in Birmingham and just celebrated his 100th birthday, was also a Marine, as were two of Walsh's cousins and an uncle. Walsh, who joined the Marines right out of high school, served four years, was out of the service for two years, then re-enlisted. He finished his first tour in Iraq in March 2006.
Jerry Walsh went to Dover, Del., on May 28 to escort his son's body to Colorado. A funeral Mass is to be held later in the week.
"He was a nice kid that turned into a great man," Maggie Walsh said. "The biggest thing I want people to know is these kids - and they are kids - they're not just numbers. They're somebody's son, somebody's daughter, somebody's husband or wife. They are people who are just doing what they think is right."
The Post Dispatch - Wednesday, May 30 2007 - Before Nicholas R. Walsh re-enlisted in the Marines for a second tour of duty, he married a Millstadt resident in a ceremony at Morgan Street Brewery on Laclede's Landing.
Julie (Kilgore) Walsh is a 1997 graduate of Belleville West High School. Her husband spent part of his childhood in Idaho and graduated from a high school in Fort Collins, Colo., before ending up in the Metro East area with Julie, said Ken Nettleton, her uncle.
The couple had met in North Carolina and lived in Belleville, Swansea and Millstadt from 2002 until their wedding in April 2004. Shortly after the ceremony, they moved to Camp Pendleton, Calif. That's where Julie lives with the couple's sons, 4-year-old Triston and baby Tanner, and where she was when she learned that her husband had been killed serving his country.
Marine Sgt. Nick Walsh, 26, was killed Saturday in combat in the Anbar province in Iraq, according to the Department of Defense. He had been assigned to the 1st Marine Division's 1st Reconnaissance Battalion based out of Camp Pendleton.
Nick Walsh had served four years in the Marines before moving to St. Clair County with his wife, Nettleton said. He attended Southwestern Illinois College, Nettleton said. But he missed the Marines, so he re-enlisted three years ago.
"He liked the discipline and the code, and the camaraderie," said Nettleton, of Swansea.
Nettleton wasn't sure of the details of Walsh's first tour of duty in Iraq, but he knew Walsh left about two months ago for his second tour. His death came in what the Associated Press said has been third-deadliest month for American forces in Iraq since the war began four years ago. As of late Tuesday, there were at least 113 U.S. deaths in Iraq so far in May, the news service said.
Nettleton said a funeral Mass is planned for Saturday in Fort Collins.
Nick Walsh never told his family what he did in Iraq, but they knew he worked on reconnaissance missions, Nettleton said.
"We had no idea where he was," Nettleton said.
He also said that Nick Walsh was proud to be a Marine and felt strongly about what he was doing.
"It was something he believed in," Nettleton said. "It was something that he thought had a purpose."
05/29/2007 GAAS:423:07 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gov. Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Camp Pendleton Marine:
Sgt. Nicholas R. Walsh
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Sgt. Nicholas R. Walsh of Millstadt, Ill:
"It is with great admiration that Maria and I offer our condolences to the family and friends of Sergeant Nicholas Walsh. As a member of our armed forces, he fulfilled a tremendous responsibility to our nation's citizens. Today we honor Nicholas who gave his life in the service of his country and freedom."
Walsh, 27, died May 26 as a result of wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. Walsh was assigned to the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA.