DANIEL J. WALLACE, JR., LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Daniel Wallace, Jr. '39

Date of birth: October 21, 1916

Date of death: March 5, 1945

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


Obituary

From VF 31:

Lieutenant Commander Daniel James Wallace Jr

Born in Hoboken New Jersey.

A graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis Maryland, class of 1939, where he was the pitcher on the Academy's baseball team in his senior year.

Before taking command of Air Group 31 Lt. Cmd. Wallace served with Fighter Squadron 10 aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6), was the Assistant Air Officer aboard an escort carrier (CVE), and was the executive Officer of Fighter Squadron 14 aboard the USS Wasp (CV-18)

On June 29, 1944 Lt. Cmd. Wallace was ordered to take command of Air Group 31 aboard the USS Cabot, relieving Lt. Cmd Winston. Lt. Cmd Wallace would be the 3rd commanding officer of Air Group 31.

He flew with Fighter Squadron 31 on the missions against Iwo Jima, Palau Islands, Mindanao and Luzon in the Philippine islands.

He, along with the full air group were relieved from active duty on October 4, 1944 when they were rotated out of action. Lt. Cmd Wallace remained with Fighter Squadron 31 during their stationing at Alameda NAS (Naval Air Station) Oakland, California, and at Hollister California.

On March 5, 1945 while Fighter Squadron 31 was stationed at Hollister California Lt. Commander Daniel J. Wallace Jr. died when his F6F Hellcat crashed during a night fighter exercise over Monterey bay.

From the Official Naval Accident report:

Lt Comdr. Wallace was conducting a routine night fighter direction flight in company with three other planes in the vicinity of Monterey Bay. He was leading his division on a vector of 270 mag at an altitude of 4,000 feet. While on this vector they encountered extremely bad weather and were ordered by the flight director to reverse course 180°. Wallace started an easy right turn of 15° bank. As the turn progressed he began losing altitude, gaining speed, and increasing his rate of bank. At 3,000 feet his second section could no longer follow him. His wingman sensing that something was wrong called Wallace and told him to level his wings. Wallace did not answer. At 1,800 feet the wingman was no longer able to follow due to the side power spiral of Wallace's plane. He broke off and that was the last that was seen of the lost plane.

Lieutenant Commander Wallace's two brothers were also killed during the war. Lieutenant William Wallace (Army Air Force) was killed in December 1943 when the aircraft he was piloting on a transatlantic flight crashed into a mountain near Sligo Ireland in dense fog. Lieutenant James M. Wallace (USN) was killed when his plane crashed off of Daytona Beach Florida during a training exercise in 1944.

The City of Hoboken New Jersey renamed a public school in honor of the three Wallace men who lost their lives during the war. The Wallace Primary school still bears their name today.

Distinguished Flying Cross

From Hall of Valor:

(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant Commander Daniel J. Wallace, Jr., United States Navy, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a Pilot and Division Leader in Fighting Squadron FOURTEEN (VF-14), embarked in U.S.S. WASP (CV-18), in the First Battle of the Philippine Sea on 20 June 1944.

General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 366 (August 1947)
Action Date: June 20, 1944
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Battalion: Fighting Squadron 14 (VF-14)
Division: U.S.S. Wasp (CV-18)

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

October 1939

Ensign, USS Savannah

Others at this command: ENS John Erickson '38 and ENS Richard Swensson '39.

June 1940

Ensign, USS Williamson

November 1940

Ensign, USS Williamson

April 1941

Ensign, USS Williamson


Class of 1939

Daniel is one of 77 members of the Class of 1939 on Virtual Memorial Hall.