FORT RILEY, Kan. - Mixed martial artist, NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker visited Fort Riley Sept. 25 to spread his message of resiliency and interact with soldiers.
“I love to be around military servicemen and women and to let them know they are appreciated,” Walker said.
During his visit, Walker captivated his audience with stories about overcoming a severe stuttering problem as a child, dealing with depression and being diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder.
Walker related to soldiers the importance of asking for help in troubled times. “I know what it’s like to be in a dark place when you feel like nothing can get better,” he said.
Walker shared stories of his athletic career and how he came to the decision to attend the University of Georgia.
“I flipped a coin,” Walker said. “It was between Georgia and USC, and Georgia won three out of five.”
He also revealed sports was not his first career aspiration. “I wanted to join the Marines.” Several of Walker’s uncles were Marines and he was always impressed with the way they carried themselves.
After speaking to audiences at the Fort Riley Warrior Transition Battalion and at Barlow Theater, Walker mingled with soldiers, signed autographs and took pictures with every person who came to see him. Soldiers enjoyed his motivational message and appreciated that someone of Walker’s stature would give up his time for them.
“He showed me you can go through anything and make it out OK,” Pvt. Riley J Wilson, 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, said.
Ashley Shellito came to Barlow Theater after learning her husband could not make it to meet one of his heroes.
“I wanted to make sure he at least got an autograph,” she said.
As it turned out, her husband made it just in time.
“It’s a real honor to have met him,” Spc. Taylor Shellito, Company D,
1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., said. Fort Riley was Walker’s 18th visit to a military installation this year. He has visited more than 70 installations around the world. His next stop is Fort Hood, Texas.