Anytime a soldier falls, our desire as Americans should be to honor them. We tend to focus on HOW they died. And while that information is important, the life and legacy that soldier leaves behind is more so.
Pfc. Matthew H. Walker was a native of Hillsboro, MO. He was born on October 16, 1993 to parents David Walker (now married to Rachel Walker), and Heather Wooderson (now married to Richard Wooderson). He was a brother to Brittany Munzlinger, April Wooderson, Olivia Walker, and Camden Wooderson.
After playing high school football, where he was the captain his senior year, he graduated from Grandview High School in 2012. His coach, Mike Genge said, “He wasn’t one of those fiery guys. He just worked hard and did what we asked him to. He was a great kid who worked his tail off.”
After completing Basic Training at Fort Benning, Walker took up post at Fort Campbell where he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.
I spoke with one of his buddies. They were at Fort Campbell together, and both deployed January 23rd, 2014. He said that his favorite memory of Matthew is, “Right before the mission that he was killed on, we were sitting by our trucks for a few hours smoking and joking, and he put his body armor on backwards and ran around the truck like a bear! Lol!”
He said that Matthew was good at everything he did, especially the video game FIFA. Matthew was also known for staring at you for a long time, just to make you feel uncomfortable!
Matthew’s buddy said, “He kept everyone going with his high motivation and always hilarious personality! He was driven by the brotherhood that only infantrymen form together, as a platoon everyone does everything together making it more bonding!”
According to his buddy, he was known to say, “But sergeant I can’t see, my NODS are blurry!” I don’t have any idea what that means, but I’m sure his Brothers do!
One last thing Matthew’s Army buddy wanted everyone to know is this:
“I want people to remember him by how funny and positive he was, always making a bad situation turn into the funniest times!”
According to one of his best friends, Daniel Nixon, Walker didn’t doubt his desire to be a soldier. He came from a long line of service men. His father, grandfather, and great grandfather all served our country.
Pfc. Matthew Walker leaves behind parents, both natural and step. He leaves behind sisters and a brother, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The list goes on and on. He leaves behind a girlfriend, who he was planning to propose to when he returned from leave. He leaves behind a Matthew sized hole in the hearts of all who knew and loved him.
Matthew H. Walker was killed on June 5, 2014 when his unit was hit by enemy fire. He was 20 years, and 231 days old.
Among Walker’s awards and decorations are the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one bronze service star, Army Service Ribbon, the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Air Assault Badge.
Contributions to the United Serviceman Organization, Wounded Warrior Project, or Backstoppers can be made in Matthew’s honor.
“The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.”