The Walker’s final voyage ended at a wind-blown All Star Metals slip, cut into the sandy, Brownsville, Texas shoreline. She was held in place by several large chains attached to her bow and then staked deep into the ground.

All Star Metals officials allowed Vietnam Graffiti Project volunteers to visit the ship in 2005 and remove remaining graffiti-inscribed canvases and other artifacts that could be used for exhibit purposes. The work party consisted of project founders Art and Lee Beltrone; New York volunteer Ed Keller; and Jerry Barker and Merle Lindsay, from Indiana and Texas respectively who in 1967 were transported to Vietnam aboard the Walker as members of the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry.

A guide was assigned to the work party and for the next several days the ship was thoroughly explored and artifacts selected for removal. Graffiti-inscribed canvases were removed from their metal frames both in the ship and on the shore, and small personal items still in the bunk units since the Vietnam voyages were collected. These included playing cards, newspapers and magazines from 1966 and 1967, books, empty cigarette packs, candy bar wrappers, Bibles and religious tracts.

With the aid of a scrap yard worker, the support poles for several berthing units were cut from one of the berthing compartments. Canvases on their metal frames were collected to complete three, eight-person berthing units. Original sheets, with corners stenciled USNS WALKER, along with pillows, mattresses and bright-orange life vests, were also selected.

The artifacts were moved to a secure room on the ship and two weeks later Art Beltrone and Gulf War Marine veteran Wayne Genova from Virginia flew to Brownsville. A box truck was rented and the selected artifacts were loaded at the All Star Metals compound. The material was driven by the pair to Virginia. As they left All Star Metals, the Walker was becoming more skeletal as workers continued to cut steel away from the once proud ship.



Exhibit Schedules

    Part of the Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam is currently at the New York Historical Society in Manhatten through April 22, 2018. Information about the full Vietnam exhibit is available here

    Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam will be open at the USS Kidd Memorial in Baton Rouge, LA, from October 27, 2017 through February 28, 2018.