California Marines Die in Fighting at Al Anbar Province

Times Staff Writer

Allan K. Walker’s family had a history of military service dating to the American Revolution. His grandfathers had fought in the Pacific during World War II, an uncle in Vietnam, a great-grandfather in World War I and more than a few family members in the Civil War.

But as a teenager, Walker cut a different swath in life. He had a voracious appetite for literature, a knack for writing, a green Mohawk haircut and a disregard for classroom discipline.

Walker was an underachiever at Highland High School in Palmdale, where he was an offensive lineman and a wrestler. He rarely took notes or did homework, yet he would surprise teachers with his writing or literary knowledge. In 1994, tired of flipping burgers at a fast-food restaurant, he surprised his parents by joining the Marines.


For three years before being shipped out to Iraq in February, the former rebel was a drill instructor instilling discipline in young recruits, or “boots,” as they are called in the corps. As a drill instructor, his “boots” nicknamed Walker “The Beast” because of his intimidating presence and his thundering, raspy voice.

“I had my doubts about him and the Marines, knowing how my son rebelled against authority,” said his father, Ken. “When he came back from boot camp, I was so proud. They took a punk kid and turned out a young man with a sense of honor.”

Staff Sgt. Allan K. Walker, 28, of Lancaster was killed Tuesday during a battle in Al Anbar province. He was among 24 Camp Pendleton Marines killed last week, the majority, like Walker, from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

“I am proud of my son. I have been proud of my son since he was born,” said his mother, Nancy.

Walker also is survived by his sister, Lara, 26, and his stepmother, P.J. Walker.

Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday at Lancaster Presbyterian Church. Walker will be buried at Los Angeles National Cemetery, next to his grandfather, Hugh Kelso Walker, who served in the Navy during World War II.