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Info Sheet on Paul Francis Walsh

Deceased 3 December 2012
Comments fro Rhonda Walsh, Elizabeth Strople, Jim Rodgers


OBIT: Paul F. Walsh, Vietnam Veteran, formerly of Milton, MA, now Palm Coast, FL. He leaves behind his beloved wife Rhonda E. (Astrofsky) Walsh, and his beloved step-children, Mike MeDermott, Joseph and Elizabeth Strople; and his beloved granddaughter Makayla McDermott. He also leaves behind his brother Peter Walsh, Milton, MA, his brother Tom Walsh and loving niece Isabel, Putney, VT; his sister Ellen Murphy, Naples, Italy; and special niece Cheryl Murphy, Boston, MA and Steven Murphy, Colorado; and other relatives and friends especially those from Nam Vets, Hyannis, MA. Purple Heart Lifetime Member Chapter 808,VFW Post 8696 is accepting charity in his honor, in lieu of flowers please.

Paul was an avid tennis player in the warmer months and played pond hockey in the winter. He never missed a moment to teach the kids games such as chess, basketball, spelling words while we were driving in the car. Before the war he worked for General Dynamics Shipyard building parts for submarines, and after the war he worked for the school systems in Boston, MA in maintenance. Arrangements by Clymers Funeral Home, 39 R Old Kings Rd, Palm Coast, FL 32137 (386) 586-7575. Military Honors and Service were at VFW Post 8696 Palm Coast, December 14, 2012.

From Rhonda Walsh (wife): Feb 28, 2016

Hi, my daughter Elizabeth Strople has reached out and found so much about Paul F Walsh infantry 68/69 and I wanted to say thank you for keeping these photos and items from the war so I can see my husband who I met after he was home 6 years. I never got to see any pictures of him so it was wonderful to see and I'm so glad his info has been updated. We will be interning his ashes in Jacksonville FL military cemetery with me beside him. I am planning on downsizing this 5 bed/3 bath home in Palm Coast that we bought to raise the kids and it's time to downsize and get closer to the base I shop in and then I can visit the cemetery too

From Elizabeth Strople (Daughter): February 26, 2016

I am posting this photograph again because telling his story helps me to feel closure. My step-father, which I am tired of saying, he essentially adopted me, raised me... My father (that's better) was a Vietnam War Hero who was, like many, shamed when he returned. He was spit on, and ridded himself of that uniform. He was drafted into the Vietnam War when he was 20 years old, and fought in Cu Chi for the 25th Infantry, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry: The Centaurs. He was there from 1968-69 and honorably discharged from the Army in 1974.

The medals he earned solidify his honor: Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal, ARCOM (Twice, With V), Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign, National Defense, CIB, Sharpshooter and Marksman. But, the story doesn't end there.

My father was humble, and had integrity that is unmatched to this day. He battled internal demons that I will never, ever understand, no matter how hard I attempt to. Except, he always cared. He always showed that he loved us, in ways only a battered soul could, "did you get your oil changed?" "those tires look rough" "did you eat today?".

He passed away when I was nineteen years old, and I wish that I had the mental ability to process this. He had been in hospice care for almost 10 months, but months before December, he was up, he was walking the dogs... I hate to say that I was in denial, but it's true. 19 years old. That number sticks with me. Six months shy of how old my father was when he was drafted into a war that he didn't understand; I am not sure even sure that our government or Congress understood. It has taken over three years for me to begin to come to terms with his passing. But, as long as I am alive, he will always be remembered. And, I hope that his memory lives on with my family.

Back to this photograph. My father, a war veteran, lived in the woods before he came to make our family complete, again. Paul came with the clothes on his back, and didn't receive help, benefits, or recognition until 30 years after his service. I have never seen a photograph of my father that my mother didn't take... that wasn't a snapshot of one of our memories. I reached out to his division, unit, and cavalry, because I found Paul's name on a website. I asked if I could finish the information, because it was missing some things about him. A few days ago, the historian shot back a long e-mail, including this photograph, which is clearly him from Vietnam, in front of the chopper that he probably earned his DFC in. He said the person that submitted the photograph only remembered Walsh, no first name. This photo was chosen as comparison, and there is no doubt in my mind... this photograph is him.
I feel like this helped to bring him home to us. I have always felt that his soul was still there, still overseas, with demons he had to carry with him. A close friend and coworker of mine told me that his father died fighting in Vietnam. I said to him, "My father passed away a few years ago, when the claws of Agent Orange made him succumb, albeit, peacefully in my mother's arms". He looked me in the eyes, without missing a beat, "Both of our fathers died in Vietnam, yours just took a little more time".

This, to me, was chilling, enlightening, and real. My heart bursts whenever I see this photograph, because, to me, Paul is a hero. The kind that is unsung, that you hear about occasionally; not often enough. I cannot thank the historian (Dale Dow) enough, for keeping this relic, and continuing to research, and help families of Vietnam Veterans. I love you, Paul. Forever, always. The lessons you taught me will stay in my mind eternally. I wish I did more for you when I had the chance. Paul Francis Walsh, SPC-5: 20 February 1948 - 03 December 2012.

Jim Rodgers: Paul Walsh was an11B OH-6A observer. At least I’m pretty sure this was him. Walsh stopped by my armament shop one afternoon. He was on his way to a shower and some rest. It seems he had been shot down three times that day and he felt he was pressing his luck. Maybe someone can confirm this. He wasn’t specific about where or what damage occurred, if any, and no one was hurt. I remember he looked like he had been through a twister. Seeing his picture brought up this memory.