Donald Ralph Walters
March 23, 2003
|Killed when convoy was ambushed in Iraq.|
Donald Walters couldn't wait for the war in Iraq to begin, his wife said, because "the sooner this war got started, the sooner he could come home and see his family."
That was the message Walters, whose parents live in Salem, relayed to his wife of nine months, Stacie, in their last conversation.
Walters, of Kansas City, Mo., was killed March 23 when the 507th Maintenance Company was ambushed.
Walters grew up in Oregon and joined the Army after he graduated from high school in 1988. He guarded captured Iraqi soldiers in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He re-enlisted after the Sept. 11 attacks.
His mother, Arlene, is considering starting a chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, for women who have lost a child in war.
"Look at all these soldiers getting killed," she said. "There's a lot of mothers out there."
|New York Times 03/21/04 Click
After Review, Army Upgrades Honors for Fallen Sergeant
Published: March 21, 2004
The soldier, Sgt. Donald R. Walters of Salem, was killed in the ambush of the 507th Army Maintenance Company that left 11 American soldiers dead and six captive, including Private Lynch. Sergeant Walters, 33, may have been the first casualty in the March 23, 2003, firefight.
He had initially been awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Representative Darlene Hooley, Democrat of Oregon, said Friday that the Army would award Sergeant Walters the Silver Star, a higher honor.
The medal follows an Army review of the ambush prompted by Ms. Hooley and Sergeant Walters's mother, Arlene Walters.
"I was hoping that they would come out and say that brave American soldier who emptied his weapon was actually my son," Ms. Walters said Friday. "But I don't think they can say that. Giving him this award means they know what he did."
After her rescue, Private Lynch, of Palestine, W.Va., said she did not fire a shot.
Her injuries resulted from a Humvee crash during the firefight in Nasiriya, Iraq, just days into the war that began a year ago Friday.
Sergeant Walters's wounds, however, were consistent with the initial description of Private Lynch's actions. An autopsy report showed he died from a gunshot and two stab wounds to the abdomen.
Arlene Walters filed a Freedom of Information request in November asking the Pentagon to determine if her son's actions had been mistakenly attributed to Private Lynch in media reports.
In a statement Friday, Ms. Hooley said the Army investigation "made it clear that a lone American fighter did, indeed, hold out against the Iraqi troops."
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