Since last Memorial Day, one Missouri serviceman killed overseas

– Over the past year, one Missouri military serviceman was killed in combat overseas.

Matthew H. Walker, a 20-year-old Army Private First Class of Hillsboro, Mo., died almost a year ago in the Paktika province of Afghanistan near Pakistan. According to the Department of Defense, Walker was fatally wounded in combat on June 5 when his unit was hit by an enemy rocket grenade.

Walker was an infantryman of the 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. At a funeral service last summer, his family was presented a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart on his behalf.

Walker was seven years old when the United States’ war in Afghanistan began. He had graduated from Grandview High School in Jefferson County just two summers before, where he was captain on the football team.

Since Memorial Day last year, Walker was Missouri’s sole fatality in combat. Last year, five military servicemen from Missouri were killed, including one who was fatally shot in Texas at a shooting there.

On Monday, Gov. Jay Nixon ordered flags in Missouri to be flown at half-staff, “to honor those who lost their lives while serving in the nation’s armed forces.”

“The freedoms we enjoy are possible because of the brave men and women in our military who have been willing to sacrifice their own lives on behalf of our nation,” he said in a statement. “On Memorial Day, I ask all Missourians to especially remember those who have paid this ultimate price for freedom.”

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