New York Governor Hochul Signs Legislation

New York Governor Hochul Signs Legislation Designating Portion of State Highway System as sp4 Richard F. Walton, Jr. Memorial Highway

New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation S.6799/A.7616 designating a portion of the State Highway System in the Town of Butternuts located in Otsego County as SP4 Richard F. Walton, Jr. Memorial Highway.

“SP4 Richard Walton, Jr. is an American hero who lived to help others and tragically lost his life in service to his country,” Governor Hochul said.  “This designation will honor his life, bravery, dedication, and the sacrifice he made for his country.”

Richard Walton, Jr. was born and raised in the Town of Butternuts, NY where his family were longtime residents.  In 1968, Walton underwent basic training and medical training after enlisting with the 326th Medical Battalion, 101st Airborne, American Division.  In November of that year, he volunteered to go to Vietnam for a one-year tour of duty. After his tour, he volunteered to return to his work as a medic in Southeast Asia.  After a brief trip home to spend Christmas with his parents, Walton once again answered the call to serve his country and returned to South Vietnam.

On February 6th, 1970, while serving in Vietnam, SP4 Richard F. Walton, Jr. lost his life in a helicopter crash.

Senator Peter Oberacker said, “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.”

Assembly Member Joe Angelino said, “I’m pleased State Route 51 in the Town of Butternuts will be named the ‘Specialist 4th Class Richard F. Walton, Jr. Memorial Highway’.  This recognition is important to never forget the sacrifice made by Richard in Vietnam in 1970.  Richard had already served a combat tour as a soldier in Vietnam, voluntarily returning for an additional tour as a medic when his life was taken in a helicopter crash.  This designation will be a reminder for all to see as they travel this highway and may give some comfort to his remaining family members that Richard was not forgotten.”