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|49k||Merrit Cecil Walton was born at St. Paul, Minn., on 18 December 1915. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on 19 May 1937 at San Francisco, Calif.,
and initially served at San Diego, Calif., before going to the Asiatic Station that autumn. As a member of the 4th Marine Regiment, quartered in the International Settlement of Shanghai,
China, Walton witnessed part of the bloody battle that raged for that key city between Chinese and Japanese forces and, as such, was an early observer of Japanese aggression in the Far
East. During his tour in China, he received promotion to private, 1st class, on 10 May 1939.
Returning to the United States in the autumn of 1940, Walton served successive tours of duty at the Marine barracks at Mare Island, Vallejo, Calif.; the Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, N.J.; Quantico, Va.; and New River, N.C. He was promoted to sergeant on 01 August 1941 and platoon sergeant on 08 April 1942. Platoon Sergeant Walton was serving in a parachute battalion as part of the 1st Marine Division (Reinforced) that was selected to land in the Solomons in August 1942. Companies A and B of that battalion landed on the island of Gavutu on the morning of 07 August 1942. The enemy, already alterted by the landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi, met the marines' frontal assault with a withering fire.
Although fully aware of the danger involved, Platoon Sergeant Walton volunteered to reconnoiter the position of a troublesome Japanese machine gun nest threatening his platoon's right flank. Once he had spotted the weapon's location, he led a daring attack during which the leathernecks silenced the gun. Mortally wounded, however, Platoon Sergeant Walton died later that same day. Posthumous awards accorded the sergeant included the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart, and a share of the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the 1st Marine Division (Reinforced).
USS Walton (DE 361) (1944 - 1968) was the first ship to be named in his honor.
(Photo taken at Sutton, Nebr. during Sgt. Walton's last visit to his cousin Evelyn A. Goesch, Rod's Mom.)
San Jose, Cal.
|41k||20 May 1944: Orange, Tex. - Walton being side-launched.||Nick Tiberio|
|347k||undated postwar image: USS Walton (DE 361) underway, circa later 1950s or early 1960s, probably entering or leaving port.
(U.S. Naval Historical Center photo #NH 107607 from the Naval History and Heritage Command)
|125k||Undated Postwar Photo (1950's / 1960's)||Nick Tiberio|
|168k||24 - 26 February 1962: Saigon, Vietnam - Walton moored at Saigon after sailing up the Saigon River.
(Photo taken by Herb Mesler, RM1)
RMC, USNR (ret.)
DE 361, 1961 to 1962
|419k||circa 1962: Pearl Harbor, Hi. - An official U.S. Navy photo of Walton passing Hospital Point at Pearl Harbor.||Ken W. Sayers|
|471k||circa 1962: off the coast of Pearl Harbor - An official U.S. Navy photo of Walton at sea. This photo and the one prior were probably taken during Walton's last deployment to the Pacific.|
|285k||25 June 1965: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - USS Walton (DE 361) stands off while arriving for a port visit to Vancouver.
(Photograph by Walter E. Frost) (Photo #AM1506-S3-3-: CVA 447-8887 from the City of Vancouver Archives)
|472k||28 June 1965: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - USS Walton (DE 361) stands off while departing a port visit to Vancouver.|
(Photograph by Walter E. Frost) (Photo #AM1506-S3-3-: CVA 447-8887.1 from the City of Vancouver Archives)
|202k||03 October 1965: Alameda, Cal. - Walton in drydock during an overhaul at Todd Shipyard.||Ken W. Sayers|
|156k||01 February 1966: Treasure Island, Cal. - Walton moored at Treasure Island Naval Station, pier 14N.|
|138k||28 August 1966: Treasure Island, Cal. - Walton returning to Pier 14N after Cruise 8E-RC to San Diego.|
|198k||December 1966: Treasure Island, Cal. - Walton breasting out from Pier 14N.|
|162k||07 May 1967: San Francisco Bay - Walton serving as the flagship for San Francisco’s annual Blessing of the Fleet event in Raccoon Strait. Note the Mk 32 torpedo tubes near the stack, which had been installed only a week earlier.|
|305k||07 May 1967: San Francisco Bay - Pleasure boats inspecting Walton while she served as the flagship for the Blessing of the Fleet festival in Raccoon Strait.|
Pamphlet (circa 1961)
|View the USS Walton (DE 361) DANFS history entry located on the Naval History and Heritage Command web site.|
|View the official War History of USS Walton as submitted by the ship at war's end.|
|Walton's Commanding Officers
Thanks to Wolfgang Hechler & Ron Reeves
|Dates of Command||Commanding Officers|
|1.) 09 Apr. 1944 -||Lcdr. Wilbur Summers Wills, Jr., USN (Comm. CO)|
|2.) 05 Feb. 1946 – 31 May 1946||Lcdr. Theodore Edward Olsen, Jr., USNR (Decomm. CO) (Portland, Ore.)|
|3.) 26 Jan. 1951 - .. .... 1952||Lcdr. John Daniel Brink (Recomm. CO) (Bridgeport, Conn.)|
|4.) .. .... 1952 - .. .... 1954||Lcdr. Albert George Fenley (Stockton, Cal.)|
|5.) .. .... 1954 - .. .... 1956||Cmdr. Arthur Tenney Emerson, Jr. (USNA '43) (Washington, D.C.)|
|6.) .. .... - Fall 1958||Lcdr. Gordon Buster Brown Tribble (prior enl. '40, OCS '44) (Honolulu, Hi.)|
|8.) .. Sep. 1959 - .. Jun. 1961||Lcdr. John Cochrane McGill, Jr.|
|9.) .. Jun. 1961 - .. .... ....||Lcdr. R. G. Rogers|
|11.) ~1963||Lcdr. William Carlton Harris (enl. '40 / OCS '45) (Hot Springs, Ark.)|
|12.) ~1964||Lcdr. Harry Byron Knecht (Pleasantville, Oh.)|
|13.) .. Jan. 1966 - 13 Aug. 1966||Lt. Leonard Ray Womack (Fairview, Okla.)|
|14.) 13 Aug. 1966 – 28 Aug. 1966||Lcdr. L. W. Chapman|
|15.) 28 Aug. 1966 - .. Aug. 1967||Lt. Leonard Ray Womack (Fairview, Okla.)|
|16.) .. Aug. 1967 – 20 Sep. 1968||Lt. Robert Dennis Bledsoe (Decomm. CO)|
Contact information is compiled from various sources over a period of time and may, or may not, be correct. Every effort has been
made to list the newest contact. However, our entry is only as good as the latest information that's been sent to us. We list only
a contact for the ship if one has been sent to us. We do NOT have crew lists, rosters, or deck logs available. Please see the
Frequently Asked Questions section on NavSource's Main Page for that information.
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Page Last Updated: 19 May 2020