James J. Walton
West Point, 1989
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Bruce Estok on June 30, 2008:
Jim is someone I respected through our 4-years together at West Point where we were in the same Company, & someone I continued to respect for his service in the Army. Our nation has lost a great Soldier & Patriot.
In our West Point Company we all had nicknames. Jim's was "quill" for his knowledge of regulations and strict adherence to them, something I for one was not as focused on. The point is that he knew them & lived by them, always taking seriously his duty to uphold them, & earning the respect of his peers for being someone who did what was right, even when it was not popular. Despite the serious approach Jim took towards learning about & preparing for his chosen profession, he was a very cheerful & funny person with a great sense of humor.
Jim was a hard worker & one who never quit. I remember taking a fitness test where half-way thru the 2-mile run his knee blew out & he clung to the fence down along the track. He fought thru the pain & finished the test, & if I recall correctly he had surgery shortly thereafter.
I believe Jim had attended a military high school or prep school & worked very hard to get to West Point as he had a true passion to serve his country as an officer and lead Soldiers. While many of us had taken a different path to get there, or were uncertain as to our long-term goals, Jim had a firm grasp on why he was at West Point. His dedication to the Army never wavered & over the course of our careers I crossed paths with him a couple times, the last at Fort Bragg several years ago where I learned that Jim had transferred from the Infantry to Aviation. I recall the same story that Mike Fischer related about Jim training for a sky-diving record, though I was not present to make a jump with him.
Learning that Jim was in Afghanistan after having served previous combat tours is not surprising as he was always one to shoulder more than his share of the load. Learning from Frank Sturek that he volunteered for a PMT is equally not surprising as Jim was always one who wanted to make a difference.
My thoughts & prayers go out to Jim's wife & family in this most difficult time. Our nation is fortunate to have had him in its service.
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