This article originally appeared in the July 2020 issue.
If we’re seeking out strictly military-oriented diesel pickup builds for this issue that are all about the ultimate sacrifice of soldiers, then this truck absolutely belongs. The truck’s message is also quite fitting for the times we’re going through right now.
As a 2001 Ford F350 crew cab long bed with the 7.3L Power Stroke, this truck is dedicated to a relative who literally gave his life for the many freedoms that our country enjoys. Owned by Steven Walker, this 2001 Power Stroke is a rolling memorial to his younger brother Ryan Walker, who was killed in Iraq in 2006. “Ryan was my only brother,” says Steven. “He was a great person and his last moment alive captures exactly the person he was. He could have said no and not gone on that mission, but he felt a sense of duty to his fellow soldiers as a field medic in the United States Army.”
The Ultimate Sacrifice
Steven can go on explaining how Ryan’s heroic actions were pure instinct and dedication kicking in and Ryan dismounting his vehicle to render aid to the soldiers without even considering the consequences to his own life. Ryan was killed at the young age of 25, three days before he was supposed to return home.
“He was always smiling no matter what, he would give you the shirt off his back, and he was just a great friend,” Steven adds. “You seriously couldn’t slap that smile off his face. Interestingly, not too many medics actually get the nickname Doc; Ryan had already earned that nickname from his fellow soldiers.”
This story is quite reflective of the heroic actions of medical personnel around the world today as we endure the novel coronavirus pandemic. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals and volunteers continue to put themselves in harm’s way, day in and day out, to save as many lives as possible, even if they know their actions may involve giving their own lives. This Power Stroke makes for a great dedication to those selfless, heroic actions.
The livery on the truck is largely firefighting-themed, but it’s all still related to making the ultimate sacrifice. Of course, it not only gives the truck stylish looks, but it also sends out the truck’s important message. It was completed by Venice Airbush, a business that has since closed its doors. “The passenger side is dedicated to firefighters since my brother’s previous career was a firefighter,” Steven says. “The driver’s side is dedicated to his military background. It has a Blackhawk MEDEVAC helicopter landing and medics carrying in a wounded soldier that we used from a picture my brother took. He is now a ‘battle angel’ looking over his fellow soldiers making sure they get into the helicopter safely.”
As far as the build on the truck goes, it’s quite loaded, enhancing its personality and dedication alike. Engine work includes ARP head studs, COMP Cams 910-16 valve springs, a Driven Diesel Regulated Return fuel system, Diesel Innovations Mini-Me 238cc hybrid injectors, Terminator twin high pressure oil pumps, CoolingMist water injection, an aFe Stage II intake, and a Garrett GTP38R ball bearing turbo with a 1.15 exhaust housing; it’s all mated to a built 4R100 transmission from Brian’s Truck Shop.
The front end was upgraded to a 2005-2007 design with the old headlights, bumper, header panel, and grille being changed out. The hood has been upgraded to a Keystone Heat Extractor hood, and the mirrors are 2003-2007 model year heated lighted mirrors. The massive One Up Offroad 10-14-inch three-link front and rear suspension includes coilovers, double bypass shocks in the rear and triple bypass shocks in the front all from SWAY-A-WAY. The suspension’s rear truss, the hydro assist and steering stabilizer, and modified driveline are also all from One Up Offroad. With those, the truck uses Dynatrac ball joints and Spyntec free-spin wheel bearings. “Those ball joints are almost indestructible,” Steven says. “This truck rides and drives ten times better than a stock truck!” The truck has 4.30 gears with an Auburn limited-slip differential in the rear and sits on 38-inch Toyo Open Country M/T tires with 20-inch WELD Cheyenne rims.
One Up Offroad also supplied the hitch, mud flaps, and even a step that includes AMP retractable steps built into it to help make climbing into the truck easier. Other extra exterior gadgets include train horns with a Siege on board air system, Recon strobe lights, and of course the custom badges from Billet Badges dedicated to his brother and all families who have lost members to war. Although he didn’t do much to the interior, Steven did add a 2005-2007 rear leather seat, 2005-2007 upfitter switches, as well as a pyrometer and in-dash gauges for reading boost, transmission temp, fuel pressure, HPOP pressure, engine oil temp and volts.
Living the Life
The truck is mostly Steven’s daily driver, but it has participated in countless parades and community activities, once even being featured on CNN. It has received several awards, such as for “People’s Choice” and “Best Flames” at the Hermiston Classic.
“Every year our summers are typically scheduled out with parades, diesel events, truck events, car shows, military or firefighter related events,” Steven says. “Not too many people that have a paint job as elaborate as this drive their vehicles as much as I have. I still use it too. Rock, dirt, manure, lumber, you name it and it probably has been in the bed of the truck.”
Building this truck was the least Steven could do for his brother, and it has continually been a huge blessing for his family.
“Ryan was a special person in our lives,” he says. “I also like to remind people what is going on out there and just maybe seeing my truck might inspire someone to email, mail, or contact their loved one and reach out to them. You never know when that last time is going to be.”
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