Walter Walsh

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posted on May 4, 2011
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NRA members have their choice of either American Rifleman, American Hunter or America’s 1st Freedom as a benefit with their membership. All are fine books, but those of you who opt for the legendary first-ever gun magazine—American Rifleman—got a special treat in November.

Bill Vanderpool, retired from the FBI but still very active in matters gun, has written a long overdue biographical piece on Walter Walsh. Walsh is 103 as the piece comes to print and nobody ever enjoyed a life so long and so full of service to the Republic.

Walsh was a competitor from childhood and capped a long competitive career with the so-called “Triple Distinguished” status. A graduate lawyer, Walsh became an FBI agent in the early 1930s and participated in several violent confrontations with Depression-era gangsters, as well chronicled by Vanderpool. As a Marine in World War II, he served on several of the great island battles and was involved in a number of close-range fights.

After the War, Walsh got into the competition business in a big way, not only as a competitor, but also as a coach and manager. By the '60s, he was the Marine Corps' main shooter as the director of marksmanship programs. His mail code at HQMC was “AO3M” and that was the address to which I routinely reported my team's competitive scores.

I had the pleasure of meeting Walsh through my friendship with Rex Applegate. No more courtly gentleman could ever be found and I count it a pleasure to know him. Walter Walsh came from a time of legendary shooter/warriors—Askins, Jordan, Applegate—and has set an example for all of us to follow, both on and off the range. Bill Vanderpool's great article gives us a little more insight into this determined little man who stood toe-to-toe with giants.

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