On 30 July1998, my friend Lieutenant Colonel Ken Walsh, USMC, (Retired), Medal of Honor for action at Guadalcanal in World War II, passed away unexpectedly. Ken was a great man, a true American hero. He chose to be buried in Arlington. While his death leaves a deep void in my life, Ken is now walking among giants. May God's grace shine down on him forever.
Kenneth Walsh was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, 13 August 1998.
WALSH, KENNETH AMBROSE
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, pilot, in Marine Fighting Squadron 124, U.S. Marine Corps. Place and date: Solomon Islands area, 15 and 30 August 1943. Entered service at: New York. Born: 24 November 1916, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Other Navy awards: Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 Gold Stars.
For extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty as a pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron 124 in aerial combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area.
Determined to thwart the enemy's attempt to bomb Allied ground forces and shipping at Vella Lavella on 15 August 1943, 1st Lt. Walsh repeatedly dived his plane into an enemy formation outnumbering his own division 6 to 1 and, although his plane was hit numerous times, shot down 2 Japanese dive bombers and 1 fighter.
After developing engine trouble on 30 August during a vital escort mission, 1st Lt. Walsh landed his mechanically disabled plane at Munda, quickly replaced it with another, and proceeded to rejoin his flight over Kahili.
Separated from his escort group when he encountered approximately 50 Japanese Zeros, he unhesitatingly attacked, striking with relentless fury in his lone battle against a powerful force. He destroyed 4 hostile fighters before cannon shellfire forced him to make a dead-stick landing off Vella Lavella where he was later picked up.
His valiant leadership and his daring skill as a flier served as a source of confidence and inspiration to his fellow pilots and reflect the highest credit upon the U.S. Naval Service.
Ken Walsh apparently suffered a caardiac arrest while making preparastions to attend the Osh Kosh Air Show. EMS was unable to revive him enroute to the hospital. He is survived by his wife, Beulah, and a son, Tom. Ken's oldest son, Ken, Jr., passed away in April 1998 and was buried with honors at the Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard