Grammy Award winning rock and roll legend Joe Walsh visited Walter Reed Bethesda on Jan. 4, not to promote an upcoming album, reality show or tour, but to support the military personnel he deeply cares about, he explained.
Walsh lost his birth father, an Army Air Corpsman who served in Okinawa, during the Korean War. Although exempt from the draft during the Vietnam era, Walsh, the former Eagles’ front man said, “I still have a lot of buddies who served there and I stay in contact with.
“My personal project is to raise awareness for the warriors [at Walter Reed Bethesda] this year,” said the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. “I figured that I could start by coming today to see what they are up against,” he added.
While in the Military Advanced Training Center (MATC) at WRNMMC visiting wounded warriors, Walsh took time to give impromptu guitar lessons. Army Sgt. Lucas Oppelt said about his lesson, “It was a real treat and he’s a wonderful guy. I know he’s knowledgeable about the guitar, so one thing I wanted to do is get a little lesson from him,” added the Soldier, injured in Afghanistan in May 2012.
“I saw what they were doing and I gave them some tips to make practicing fun,” Walsh explained about his guitar instructions to the troops. “I showed them some blues licks and some things they hadn’t thought of so they could work on them.”
Walsh said some of his friends who fought in Vietnam had a hard time when they reintegrated back into society after they returned from the war. “That’s another reason I’m here today -- to make sure that doesn’t happen again, at least as much as I can help,” said the guitarist, songwriter and singer.
“I would visit the old facility [Walter Reed Army Medical Center] anytime the Eagles played in Washington, D.C.,” Walsh continued. “My heart is really lifted by seeing this [new] facility. This place is the best,” he added.
Walsh joined the Eagles in 1975 and was featured prominently on their multi-million selling album “Hotel California,” co-writing the Top 20 hit “Life in the Fast Lane” with fellow Eagles, Don Henley and Glenn Frey.