High school student honors legacy of fallen Guardsman

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

20140424_160454

Dillon Walker found more than 60 potential names for the Kentucky National Guard Memorial in his high school research project. Dillon is the nephew of Master Sgt. Clinton Cubert, who died in 2006 as the result of injuries sustained by an IED while serving in Irag. (Photo by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — For Dillon Walker it was more than just another school assignment.  The Western Hills High School student wanted to do something special for his senior project, so he chose military appreciation as a theme.  Little did he know his efforts would affect so many.

Click here for more photos on this story.

In 2006 Walker’s uncle, Master Sgt. Clinton Cubert, was hit by an improvised explosive device while serving with the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 2113th Transportation Company in Samarra, Iraq.  Cubert’s injuries were critical and he was eventually transported to Kentucky where he could receive medical care near his family.

“I was about nine or ten when that happened,” said Walker.  “I remember visiting at the hospital and helping take care of him, helping him with his physical therapy and talking to him, just spending time with him.”

Cubert died on April 16, 2006 of complications from his injuries.  Walker’s fondest memories of his uncle preceded his tragic death.

“He was a great man,” said Walker.  “He loved hiking and hunting, anything to do with the outdoors.  And he was a great soldier.  I really looked up to him.”

Click here to find out more about Master Sgt. Clinton Cubert and other Kentucky Guard members who have fallen in the line of duty.

DSC08698

Col. Charles Jones, Deputy Adjutant General for Kentucky, presents Dillon Walker with an Honorary Kentucky Guard certificate in recognition for his work in identifying fallen troops. (Photo by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

Fast forward to today.  Walker’s assignment led him to the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs and the Military Records and Research Branch.  There he was given a unique mission, one that hit him in his heart: identifying the names of Kentucky National Guard members who have fallen in the line of duty.

“I found out about the Kentucky National Guard Memorial and how they needed help in identifying the names of fallen Guard members,” said Walker.  “I figured this would be as good a way as any to give back.”

Click here to find out more about the Kentucky National Guard Memorial.

“It’s a daunting task, and an important one,” said Department of Military Affairs Jason LeMay, who has been accumulating the list of names for the memorial.  “We started out with more than 500 potential names and we’ve confirmed about 150 so far.”

More than 300 names still have to be vetted and it all has to be done before the first of July so the stone cutters can begin etching the monument in time for the November dedication.  Walker found more than 60 potential candidates while conducting his research project.

“That’s a huge dent in our numbers.  Dillon’s efforts are crucial to meeting our deadline,” said LeMay.  “We are grateful to have him on our team.”

“We’re so proud that a young person would take on such an important responsibility,” said Col. Charles Jones, Deputy Adjutant General for Kentucky.  Jones presented Walker with a certificate making the high school senior an honorary member of the Kentucky National Guard.  “Dillon’s service to these fallen troops and their families reflects the honor of his uncle’s legacy.”

Walker plans to attend the Memorial Day groundbreaking ceremony for the memorial that will display his uncle’s name.  It’s just another step in honoring a man he holds in such high esteem.

 

About kentuckyguard