Caesar Rodney High School junior Brandon Walton’s family has a long history of serving in the U.S. Army’s Delaware National Guard. On Wednesday, the Camden resident officially became the fourth generation of his family to serve in the National Guard.
Caesar Rodney High School junior Brandon Walton’s family has a long history of serving in the U.S. Army’s Delaware National Guard.
The military line goes back to his great grandfather, George R. Walton Sr., and grandfather, Bruce Walton Sr., and continued with his father, Lt. Col. Bruce Walton Jr.
Brandon Walton, of Camden, officially became the fourth generation of his family to join the Delaware National Guard when took the oath of enlistment at the Delaware National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters in Mill Creek Wednesday, said 1st Lt. Nathan Bright, deputy spokesman for the Delaware National Guard. Walton’s father and grandfather were on hand for the ceremony.
“First and foremost, I wanted to serve my country,” Brandon said. “Secondly, I wanted to join to preserve the Walton name in the National Guard."
The move came as a surprise to Brandon’s dad, Lt. Col. Walton. He was never one to push the military on his son. But about six months ago, Brandon began to express an interest in following his family’s footsteps by being an officer in the Army or enlisting in the Army.
Brandon started talking about split options, which is when a solider goes to basic training in between his junior and senior year in high school, Lt. Col. Walton said.
“I thought Brandon might wait, but he was interested in joining,” he said. “I couldn’t be any prouder at him making his commitment at this young age and having the clarity of vision of going for it right now. It goes without saying.”
Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard, called Brandon’s enlistment ceremony historic. Vavala believes this is the first time four generations of one family have served in the state’s National Guard.
Vavala has served with all three previous generations of Waltons.
“It is my honor to be administering this oath to the next member of a family I have been serving with for four decades,” he said.
The Walton line:The late Brig. Gen. George R. Walton Sr. enlisted in the Delaware Army National Guard in 1931 and retired with 42 years of service. He was deployed to the South Pacific during World War II with the DEARNG 198th Coastal Artillery Battalion from 1941 to 1945. He was a colonel when he retired, but the state gave him the honorary promotion of brigadier general. Brig. Gen. Bruce R. Walton Sr. enlisted in the DEARNG in 1952 and retired with 36 years of service. He was mobilized during the Berlin Crisis from September 1961 to September 1962 with the DEARNG’s 109th Ammunition Battalion. He too was a colonel promoted to the honorary rank of brigadier general upon retirement. Lt. Col. Bruce R. Walton Jr. enlisted in the DEARNG in 1986 and has served for 25 years. He was deployed by the National Guard Bureau in support of the Iraq war to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait from September 2009 to June 2010. He . now serves as the battalion commander of the National Maintenance Center in Camp Dodge, Iowa. Pvt. Brandon R. Walton enlisted in the DEARNG on Wednesday at the DEARNG Joint Force Headquarters.
Given that guardsmen are called upon by the Army in time of war, Lt. Col. Walton has spoken to Brandon about the time he has served.
“I wanted to make sure Brandon knew the responsibility and the risk that he was getting involved in,” he said. “Because of his patriotism and willingness to follow in our family’s footsteps, he decided to accept the challenge.”
Brandon is scheduled to start basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C. on June 11. Prior to that, he will prepare for basic training at the Guard’s Bethany Beach, Del. training site one weekend per month.
During his senior year, he will train once per month with the Georgetown, Del. unit.
Upon graduation from high school, he would move on to advanced, individual training. Given his aspirations to become an officer in the Army, Brandon is looking to either obtain a nomination to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. or enroll in the Reserve Officer Training Corps in college, he said. He could also enroll in the Delaware National Guard’s Officer Candidate Program.
Brandon is a member of the wrestling team, Spanish Club, Leo Club and Science Olympiad at Caesar Rodney High.