Assemblyman Joseph Angelino (R,C,I-Norwich), Sen. Peter Oberacker (R,C-Schenevus) and Town of Butternuts Supervisor Bruce Giuda unveiled the newly-named SP4 Richard F. Walton, Jr. Memorial Highway in Gilbertsville. A bill (A.7616) sponsored by Angelino and Oberacker, renamed a portion of State Highway 51 after the fallen Vietnam War medic.
Walton was raised in the Town of Butternuts, where his family has long resided. He served in the 326th Medical Battalion, 101 Airborne, American Division of the U.S. Army. He first went through basic training and medic training in 1968 and volunteered for the Vietnam War for a one-year tour in November of that year. After his year in Vietnam, he again volunteered to continue as a medic in Southeast Asia. He returned to his family once more to celebrate Christmas with his family and then returned to South Vietnam. On Feb. 6, 1970, Walton lost his life due to a helicopter crash. He is remembered for his efforts to serve his country as a medic.
“Richard F. Walton, Jr. exemplifies what is true and brave in our armed forces. From repeatedly saying yes to serving with your own brothers and sisters in arms to bringing attention and care to their medical needs in the arena of war speaks volumes of Richard’s character,” said Angelino. “I am proud to work alongside Sen. Oberacker and Town of Butternuts Supervisor Giuda to bring to light and honor the work of this fallen hero. It is my hope through efforts of highway dedications that our communities never forget the sacrifices of ours men and women in the armed forces.”
“Every man and woman who wears a United States military uniform sacrifices for our nation and our way of life, some, like Army Specialist Walton, make the ultimate sacrifice.SP-4 Walton served to help others – ‘carrying a needle instead of a gun,’ as he put it.It is my humble honor to help keep his memory alive and ensure that others know what Richard Walton Jr. meant to his hometown of Gilbertsville and his country. My thanks to Assemblyman Angelino, Supervisor Giuda, and the entire Butternuts community for coming together to establish this well-deserved honor,” said Senator Oberacker.
“To the Town of Butternuts and his family, SP4 Richard F. Walton, Jr. is a hero, and he is very deserving of the recognition and honor bestowed to him today. This memorial highway means so much to our community and I am glad to have partnered with our state legislative representatives to make this happen,” said Supervisor Giuda.