Richard H. Walker was born on September 5, 1928 in Macon, Georgia to Henry and Tammie (Jones) Walker. Richard joined the Marine Corps in Bibb County, Georgia on July 22, 1946. His primary reason for joining was to serve his country and secondly to escape a system of discrimination that pervaded nearly every aspect of his life.
Richard was among the first African American Marines who received their basic training at Montford Point, a segregated facility at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Approximately 20,000 African American Marines received training at Montford Point between 1942 and 1949.
Upon completion of basic training he was assigned the duties of an Ammunition Technician. During his first enlistment he served in the Fleet Marine Corps Asiatic Pacific area from January 17, 1946 to July 9, 1946. He was discharged on July 26, 1947 having earned an Honorable Service Lapel Button.
Richard returned to his home in Macon, Georgia to find that regardless of having served his county “Jim Crow discrimination was still alive and well”. He reenlisted on June 24, 1948 for 3 years, a month prior to President Harry S. Truman issuing Executive Order #9981 negating segregation in the armed services.
Richard’s service was with the 7th and 8th Ammunition Companies on occupied Guam during World War II, the Vietnam War, he was one of “The Chosen Few” during the Korean War, and served with 5th Marines during the Cuban blockade.
After 24 honorable years of service. Richard H. Walker retired on July 30, 1970 at the rank of Gunnery Sargent as the Supply Chief at Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia. His awards included the Regular Service Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Good Conduct Medal with 5 stars. Richard went on to work for Norfolk and Southern Railroad as a Conductor and retired after 21 years of service.
Richard attended the Montford Point Marine Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony on June 27, 2012 in the U.S. Rotunda and on June 28, 2012 he received his Congressional Gold Medal with over 300 Montford Point Marines during the U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Barracks, 8th & I ceremony.
Richard Walker was an active life member of the National Montford Point Marines Association Inc., Quantico Chapter #32, Veteran of Foreign War Chesty Puller Post 1503, and Marine Corps League Mickey Finn Detachment 333 where he resided in Dale City, Virginia.
On June 30, 2019 in Perris, California Richard H. Walker peacefully passed away with his beloved wife Vicki by his side. His pastimes included: golfing, traveling and spending time with his family and friends.
He was proceeded in death by his parents; first wife, Geraldine Walker; daughter, Karen Walker, siblings, Samuel, Horace and Ella Mae Walker.
To forever cherish his memory is his wife, Victoria “Vicki” Hayslett Walker; children, Richard H. Walker, Jr. Kolleen Byrd, Rudolph Walker, Stephanie Covington, Yolanda Covington and LaKesha Covington; 7 grandchildren, Yolanda, Talayya, Joshua, Rylan, Shannon, Nashaya and Jamari; 4 great-grandchildren and a host of other family members and friends
Miss Me But Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little-but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me-but let me go
For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all part of the Master's plan
A step on the road to home
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me but let me go.