A Life Too Full Of Adventure To Be Briefly Described: A Winding Path To An Army Career And A Fateful Encounter In A Motorpool

Tyson Walsh


Tyson Walsh grew up in New Mexico with his mother and two brothers. His grandfather, who had served in the Navy and Merchant Marine, was a great influence on his life. As a boy, he was very involved with music and played the piano, clarinet, and guitar, but he soon excelled at the violin, often practicing three hours per night. While a Cadet at the New Mexico Military Institute, he earned opportunities to go to Juilliard, attend a service academy, or receive an ROTC scholarship, but he enlisted in the Navy instead. After Navy Basic Training, he entered the SEAL pipeline (BUD/S – Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL) but was cut from the program near the end and discharged from the Navy. The next year, he entered the Merchant Marine Academy because he found the opportunity to commission into any service and any branch appealing. While at USMMA, he spent three trimesters at sea, and enjoyed the experience. As graduation approached, he commissioned into the Army and selected Infantry as his branch. His first assignment was 2nd Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 66th Armor at Ft. Carson, Colorado, and included a deployment to Afghanistan. He was then reassigned to the 4th Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, where he was an Assistant S3 at both the Battalion and Brigade levels in Afghanistan. Serving as a Night Battle Captain, he and a buddy spent time training for Ranger School. While running alone in the middle of the night, he encountered a Taliban chief inside a motorpool, and killed him in hand-to-hand combat. Returning from Afghanistan the second time, he took command of A Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry, in the 3rd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Polk. He then took command of the Rear Detachment for the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry, in the 3rd Brigade of 10th Mountain Division, preparing Soldiers to deploy and taking care of issues at the home station. He then transitioned to Functional Area 49, ORSA (Operations Research and Systems Analysis), earned a Master’s Degree in applied math at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and was assigned to teach math in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at West Point. In this interview, he talks about his wide-ranging experiences in his youth. He describes applying to the Service Academies, enlisting in the Navy, being cut from SEAL training, and eventually attending the United States Merchant Marine Academy. He discusses his two deployments to Afghanistan. He recounts fighting and killing a terrorist in hand-to-hand combat in the motorpool in the middle of the night, and being nearly killed himself by the terrorist’s bodyguard. He shares how his unit was able to determine what had happened to him by putting together several separate reports. He reflects on teaching in the Math Department and on what his future holds. Finally, he shares what his service means to him.


conflicts Afghanistan War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Navy Military Techniques Wartime Decisions West Point History
interviewer David Siry
date 24 May 2021


name Tyson Walsh
institution United States Merchant Marine Academy
graduation year 2008
service Infantry
unit 2nd PLT, C CO, 1st BN, 66th Armor; A CO, 2nd BN, 4th Infantry, 3rd BDE, 10th MTN DIV; Rear D 2nd BN, 30th Infantry, 3rd BDE, 10th MTN DIV
specialty Hand-to-Hand Combat in a Motorpool
service dates 2008