ALFRED B. WALLACE, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Alfred Wallace '39

Date of birth: March 2, 1916

Date of death: July 30, 1945

Age: 29

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:

Obituary

From Find A Grave:

Lt. Cmdr Albert Brunson "Mike" Wallace was a Gulfport native, son of William Lyon (lawyer) and Jane Brunson Wallace. Wallace was killed in a kamikaze attack on July 30, 1945 a few miles off the east coast of Okinawa while aboard the USS Cassin Young, a Fletcher-class destroyer. "Mike" was going to take command of the ship (DD793) within a day or two from Cmdr John W. Ailes III, but the fatal attack prevented that.

He had been aboard for less than three days. Only 26 hours before, he helped the Cassin Young crew save 125 survivors from its sister ship, the USS Callaghan (DD792) on the north side of Okinawa. The Callaghan was last destroyer sunk by a kamikaze hit off Okinawa while the DD793 was one of the last ships hit by one before the War ended about two weeks later.

AB Wallace's family lived in Lumberton, Handsboro and Gulfport. He graduated from Gulfport High in 1933 and was appointed to Annapolis in 1934, but spent a year at the Emerson Institute and George Washington University in DC and then attended the Naval Academy, graduating in 1939.

Wallace was first an ensign on the battleship USS Tennessee (BB-43) and then served aboard four destroyers, USS Charles F. Hughes (DD428), Herbert (DD160), Young (DD580) and Gwin (DD433) before being ordered to take command of the Cassin Young (DD793).

Just after 3 am (July 30) a large kamikaze force attacked several Okinawa vessels, 21 other Cassin Young crew members were also killed when one, low-flying bi-plane hit the forward, starboard section of the ship, destroying one of its two engines. Heroic quick-acting crew members put out the fire in 25 minutes and the Cassin Young made it back to Okinawa but was then "out of the War." By the time she docked at Saipan for repairs, the War had ended in mid-August.

Lt. Cmdr Wallace received the Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense "A", two silver and one bronze star for his duty in the Pacific Theater and another bronze star for service in Europe-Africa and Middle Asia.

He had married Jean Gifford of California in 1942 and in an odd twist to Wartime events his Annapolis roommate and best friend later married his widow. Mike was a football center and boxing champion at the Naval Academy. His remains were brought back to the states from Okinawa in March 1949 and reinterred at Evergreen Cemetery. His parents are also at Evergreen. His brother Thomas Lyon Wallace who also was a Navy Officer in the Pacific is buried at the Biloxi National Cemetery.

The Cassin Young is now a museum ship, docked at Pier One of the former Charlestown Navy Yard across the Harbor from downtown Boston, MA and within one hundred yards of the USS Constitution. It is part of Boston National Historical Park, and ranger-guided tours are given during tourist season months while visitors can also choose to walk the main deck on their own.

His wife was listed as next of kin.

Unable to find citations for the Silver Star or Bronze Star medals mentioned in his obituary.


Class of 1939

Alfred is one of 75 members of the Class of 1939 in Memorial Hall.