Jonathan Michael Walls
Corporal, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 577-09
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died August 1, 2009, in Mushan Village, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked their patrol with improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.
Corporal Jonathan M. Walls, 27, of West Lawn, Pennsylvania
Private First Class Richard K. Jones, 21, of Roxboro, North Carolina
Private Patrick S. Fitzgibbon, 19, of Knoxville, Tennessee
For more information related to this release,
media may contact the Fort Carson public affairs office at (719) 526-4143;
after hours (719) 526-5500.
He was the husband of Meghan (Spivey) Walls.
Born in San Diego, California, he was a loving son of Steven A. Walls and Lisa K. Rowe.
Jonathan graduated from Wilson High School in 2001 and enlisted in the Army in 2005. He served a tour of duty in Iraq and was deployed to Afghanistan in May 2009.
In addition to his wife and parents, Jonathan is survived by a son, Hayden; daughters, Lily and Allahna; brothers: Nevin, Michael, Steven Jr. and Christopher; his maternal grandmother, Ann L. Rowe, West Lawn; and his paternal grandparents, Albert F. Walls Jr. and June Fraunfelter, Reading.
A memorial service will be held at Calvary Bible Fellowship Church, 4891 Penn Ave., Sinking Spring, on Monday, August 10, at 6:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made
payable to the Jonathan M. Walls Memorial Fund and mailed to Metro Bank,
2701 Shillington Road, Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania 19608, where a memorial
fund has been established for his children.
Despite the dangers, Army Corporal 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, New Jersey, 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, Delaware, 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."
11 August 2009:
Army Corporal Jonathan M. Walls will be missed.
You could tell by the long line of people patiently waiting Monday night to sign the guest book sitting on a pedestal just inside the front doors of Calvary Bible Fellowship Church in Sinking Spring.
You could tell by the way they looked at the pictures set up opposite the guest book. Pictures of a boy, a man, a soldier and a father.
You could tell by the look on his mother's face as she hugged those who came out to honor her son.
Walls was killed August 1, 2009, with two fellow soldiers in Afghanistan's Kandahar province when insurgents attacked them with improvised explosive devices and rocket-propelled grenades.
Monday night, hundreds came out to honor him for his sacrifice.
"He was dedicated to freedom, and freedom isn't free for no one," said his uncle, Bill Walls, the only family member to speak during the hour-long memorial. "He understood where he was going, what he was doing and what he had to do."
Walls, 27, was a 2001 graduate of Wilson High School. His family and friends remembered him as a soldier at heart, destined to serve his country from a young age.
The Rev. Dr. Robert A. Sloan Jr., pastor at Calvary Bible Fellowship, said Walls' mother, Lisa Rowe, recalled a little boy she compared to the character Pig Pen from the "Peanuts" comic strip, always ready to play in the dirt. A boy who loved playing with guns - moving from squirt guns to paint ball as he got older, Sloan said.
But Walls, who left behind his wife, Meghan, and two children, also loved his family and was always willing to lend a hand to anyone who needed it, Sloan said.
That's why he joined the military, Sloan said.
And that's why, even though he had an uneasy feeling about his tour in Afghanistan, he did his duty.
"He knew something was different; he had a feeling," Sloan explained. "And he told his family about. And he told the chaplain, he told him to stay close."
That action, looking toward his faith when he felt danger was upon him, showed yet another side of Walls, Sloan said.
"He walked with a sense God was with him, and leading him," Sloan said.
Sloan assured the Walls' loved ones that while Walls' time here may be done through his faith, he will be waiting to greet all of them when their time comes to follow.
Ann Rowe, Walls' grandmother, said after the memorial that she was pleased with the pastor's words.
"I thought the memorial was great. It said what we wanted to say," she said. "We wanted to share John's faith, and maybe that touched someone here tonight."
Walls' mother also seemed pleased with the night. Smiles and even laughter mixed with tears as Lisa Rowe greeted the guests at a reception that followed.
As the crowd slowly filed into a small banquet room in the lower level of the church, Lisa moved from person to person, sometimes squealing in delight at a long-lost face, other times simply laying her head on a shoulder as she accepted an embrace.
The mood was decidedly happy, more a celebration than a mourning. But that's probably what Walls would have wanted.
As Bill Walls pointed out, Walls loved his job despite the dangers.
"I'll miss him, I'm sure everyone will," he said. "But he was doing something he believed in."
Corporal Walls will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on 1 July 2011.
WALLS, JONATHAN MICHAEL
Posted: 4 May 2011 Updated: 7 July 2011 Updated: 8 September 2011
Photos By Eileen Horan, September 2011
Photos by Eileen Horan, July 2011