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Walls Jr., Eddie C.

Eddie C. Walls, Jr was born on 24 July 1949 in Madison County, Alabama. He was inducted into the US Army on 7 August 1969 and trained as a light vehicle Driver. On 8 January 1970 he arrived in Vietnam and was assigned to the 173rd Aviation Company (Assault Helicopter), 1st Aviation Brigade. His duty assignment in the company was as a door gunner on a Huey troop-carrying helicopter. Specialist Four Walls' first valor award was for exceptionally valorous actions during a rescue mission near Tay Ninh on 16 July 1970. Noticing a gunship that had been downed by enemy fire, his aircraft landed close to the downed gunship. Seeing a fire in the engine compartment of the downed aircraft, he rushed to assist in evacuating a wounded door gunner to the rescue helicopter and quickly returned to remove the radios and cryptographic equipment from the burning aircraft. With personnel and equipment out of the gunship, Specialist Walls grabbed his fire extinguisher and attacked the now rampant fire. Exposing himself to the intense heat and holding his position against the likelihood of explosion, with over thousand pounds of fuel below the buring engine, he single-handedly extinguished the dangerous blaze. His immediate and highly effective actions helped save the crew and prevented the total destruction of the gunship. For his valorous actions on this date, Specialist Four Walls was awarded the Soldier's Medal. Later that year, on 8 August, Sergeant Walls was serving as a door gunner on a troop-carrying helicopter southwest of Bu Dop. As his ship set down beside the flaming weakage of a helicopter gunship shot down by enemy fire, he left his helicopter position and rushed to aid the trapped crewmen. Disregarding the grave danger to his own life, he entered the front of the wreakage and struggled with the twisted framework to free the pinned aircarft commander. Driven off repeatedly by the intense heat, on the third entry into the blazing and ordanance laden wreakage he was able with others to withdraw the men from the ship. Seizing the rotor blade drooped across the front of the aircraft, he was attempting to wrest open a path to a second crewman when the rocket load aboard the gunship erupted, ending rescue efforts. Painfully injured in the blast, he was assisted to the rescue helicopter and evacuated with the other injured to medical facilities. For his gallantry in action, Sergeant Eddie Walls Jr was awarded the nation's third highest valor medal, the Silver Star. Sergeant Walls left the service in 1971, returning to Grant, Alabama. Eddie Walls Jr passed away on October 17, 2008.