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(Continued) Walter Walsh LONATO, ITALY

Above: Walsh (front, center) with the 1948 Olympic shooting team, Photo courtesy of Walsh family

(Contd. from pg. 35) “He was always respected

by all members of our teams because of his truly extraordinary record as an FBI agent in the 1930s and his subsequent, distinguished military record. We were proud to have someone as our Team Captain who had been an outstanding shooter himself. He was Triple Distinguished in Service Pistol, Service Rifl e and International. That is a very rare accomplishment.

I extend my personal

congratulations to Col. Walsh for becoming the oldest living Olympian.”

“I thought he was a great

Team Leader for the 1972 Olympic Games and every other trip I took with him,” said the three-time Olympic medalist Wigger who won gold and silver medals at the 1964 Olympic Games and another gold in 1972. “He was always fair and very supportive and did a good

job, which is sometimes not easy dealing with athletes. Col Walsh was a gentleman and a great Team Leader. He ran the Marine Corp MTU for a number of years and knew most of the top shooters in the country and was well-liked by all who worked for him and well-respected by everyone.”

“One of the challenges you

have with those old enough to have been on the ‘72 team is that we seem to have vivid memories of our events, but if the team manager does his job, we have little memory of him at all,” said 1972 Olympic silver medalist Bassham. “The exception is when there is an issue.”

One particular memory,

however, Bassham did recall: “Both of my events were concluded, but I was still at the Olympic Village. I asked Col Walsh if I could leave the village for a day and a night to visit a friend in Munich. He saw no problem with the request and made arrangements for me to

62 USA Shooting News | May 2013

leave the village. That night the terrorists assaulted the Israeli team. Security was heightened. I had a huge problem. How was I going to get back to my team? We did not have cell phones in those days. If there was a phone in the village associated with the shooting team, I did not have the number. I did not know what to do. Fortunately, I had given the phone number of my friend in Munich to Col. Walsh. It did not take long before he called me. He made arrangements to get me back to the village and join my team. This was no simple matter, and it was greatly appreciated by me.”

The Rest of the Story Walsh was married for 43

years; his wife passed away in 1980. They had fi ve children together — three daughters and two sons. The family counts 17 grandchildren and 23 great- grandchildren. Asked to what he credits his longevity as found in this

article written by R.R. Keene in Leatherneck Magazine, Walter Walsh ponders for a moment and answers: “To start with, you have to be lucky. Then, if you listen to your parents and follow the path of the straight and narrow, then I think God has mercy on you—permits you to live. That’s about it. It has worked very well for me for a long time … and I’ve forgotten the SOBs. That makes my life easier.” Bill Vanderool of the American Rifl eman wrote in his October 2010 article on Walsh: “At Walsh’s 100th birthday party, his family served three cakes: One had the seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the second, the seal of the United States Marine Corps; and the third bore fi ve Olympic rings. Each represented a major achievement in Walsh’s life, and each could make a major story. For one man to be presented all three indicates just how special that person is.”

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