PALM COAST, FL, US
U.S. Marine Corps
SGT, 2D BN 6TH MAR, (RCT-7, I MEF FWD), 2D MAR DIV, CAMP LEJEUNE, NC
06/08/2010, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
On the Irving lawn outside the home where Sergeant Zachary Walters once lived with his grandparents, there are flags all around. They are also on many of their neighboring homes.
“All of our neighbors on this cul-de-sac have put up the flag for Zachary,” said Bobbie Walters, Sergeant Walters’ grandmother.
Because his parents traveled, he was born in Saudi Arabia and grew up all over the world. But, Sergeant Walters always called Texas home. He always wanted to serve and joined the Marines the day after he finished high school.
“I said, ‘Why don’t you join the Air Force?’” recalled Regina Walters, the Marine’s mother. “He said, ‘No mama, I like the uniform of the Marines; they are better looking.’”
After five years in a Marine uniform, Sergeant Walters could have left the Marines in May. But, when the troops he trained were called to Afghanistan, he knew he had to lead them.
“He told me the reason he stayed in,” his mother said. “He said, ‘I prepared these guys; I want to be with these guys.’”
He went as their advance man and was killed by a roadside bomb. Friday morning, his family tried to comfort his fiancée, Victoria Falcon, with photos from happier times. Only family and faith have kept the pain from being overwhelming.
“I wanted to be a part of his life,” his grandmother said. “He is my only grandchild and I wanted him to know that we loved him so much.”
On Thursday, his mother waited in Dover, Delaware for his remains to be returned. Many of his men drove up from Florida to be with her.
“They just bragged about him being a teacher and a mentor,” she said.
The family plans to bury Sergeant Walters next Friday at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. His mother said for the Walters family in pain, it’s the pride that’s overwhelming.
“I’ve never been prouder in my life,” she said. “My precious boy made the ultimate sacrifice. He would not have had it any other way.”