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Ralph Walls survived battle on recon in Vietnam - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Ralph Walls survived battle on recon in Vietnam

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NEAR AVINGER, Tx -

If you talk to many Vietnam War veterans, not many would enthusiastically say the experience was "great!"  But Ralph Walls does, even though he had risky duty and was lucky to come back in one piece to tell about it.

Walls was part of an elite Marine recon unit that went deep behind enemy lines to spy on their positions.

"I give 'em 110 percent. If not more," Walls says, explaining that's how he approached every job he's ever had. 

But one day Walls and his unit was spotted by the enemy.  They were in for a  fierce and deadly battle.

"I heard a hand grenade go off," Walls remembers. "And I kind of rolled up and looked and I saw a couple of (Viet Cong soldiers) walking towards me.

"And I shot them and I rolled back up and machine gun bullets landed right where I was laying. And then my friend, Tony -- who was killed later -- they threw a hand grenade between us and it didn't go off.  I just closed my eyes. I knew it was over." 

Walls says he gave first aid to his buddies. Everyone was at least wounded, but two were dead.  He put gas masks on the survivors as he and the unit threw gas cannisters tcanisters.  But it would take hours to get through the thick jungle.  

"I was working point man and I was also carrying the dead lieutenant," Walls continued.   

Walls was wounded by shrapnel.  And as the unit was still taking fire, a chopper hoisted them to safety.

"People always say were you scared? I say, no, you don't get scared until you get back and you start thinking what could've happened. Why didn't  I get killed? Why did this guy get killed? And that weighs on me all the time." 

With his Bronze Star with Valor and Purple Heart medals, Walls lives in the solitude of east Texas near Lake O' The Pines.  His Texas, American, and Marine flags are always flapping in the breeze outside his home as he reflects on his survival.

"By the grace of God," he says. 

Walls has another job today that he gives is all to.  He takes care of his wife, who's stricken by Alzheimer's.  They met on Guam and Walls adopted her four children.  A son and daughter have also served in the military.
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