Wallace was born in 1925 in Taft, CA (near Bakersfield). The eldest of three children, he had a brother and a sister born in Havana, Cuba where his father was an engineer with Standard Oil; his mother was a housewife.
From the age of six months until age eight, he was reared in Havana, Cuba. He attended a Spanish-speaking school to the third grade and became fluent in Spanish because his mother was of Spanish extraction; Spanish was the primary language spoken in the home. A local revolution on the island nation concerned his father for the family’s safety so they returned to their home in Houston, Texas where Wallace attended elementary through high school.
When Wallace was 11, his father died during the Depression leaving his wife with three children. To help the family finances, Wallace lied about his age and enlisted in the US Navy at age 16 on 30 September 1941, only 68 days before the US entered World War II.
After basic training, he was assigned to the PT Boat Tender USS Jamestown AGP-3 throughout the war. The ship’s commanding officer trained him in the art of celestial navigation and emergency ship handling techniques. He was advanced to the rank of Chief Quartermaster. Wallace also:
— acted as assistant navigator and communication specialist
— qualified as a harbor pilot for the port of Kodiak, Alaska where he was Assistant Harbormaster.
Promoted through the ranks, Wallace ultimately was selected to attend the Navy’s Electronics School at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet CVA 12 where he served as its Chief Electronics Technician for six months and was later transferred back to the Electronics School where he served as an Instructor in Electronics until his retirement from the Navy in the rank of Chief Electronics Technician on 1 August 1960.
His military awards and decorations include:
— American Defense Service Medal
— American Campaign Medal
— Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
— World War II Victory Medal
— Korean Service Medal
— Presidential Unit Citation
While in the Navy, Wallace acquired two years of college credits through the United States Armed Forces Institute, University of Wisconsin.
He also attended the Friedkin School of Aeronautics where he acquired Federal Aviation Administration ratings as a: Commercial Pilot (Single and Multi-Engine Land) and (Single Engine Sea).
Certified Flight Instructor
Ground Instructor in Navigation, Meteorology, Civil Air Regulations, Aircraft Airframes and Power Plants.
As a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, as a commercial pilot for over 70 years, he has flight instructed in his private plane and subsequently acquired more than 10,000 hours of flying time as pilot in command. For three years, he served as President of the Alameda Aero Club flying out of the U.S. Naval Air Station, Alameda and the Oakland International Airport.
In 1960, Wallace joined North American Aviation where his specialty was Inertial Guidance Navigation Systems. Under contract to the Strategic Air Command, as an Air Crew Flight Instructor he flew in Boeing B-52 bombers out of Columbus Air Force Base near Columbus, Mississippi.
In 1962, he was recalled to North American Aviation, in Downey, Ca. as a Member of the Technical Staff to act as a Research Engineer Pilot. Working with the original seven Astronauts, he participated as a pilot subject in many hours of Apollo Capsule simulator missions. He wrote test plans and conducted studies using the Apollo Astronauts as pilot subjects. After the successful lunar landing, he left North American Rockwell Inc. in 1970.
From 1970 to 1973, Wallace was employed as a Broker Dealer and Registered Representative of the National Association of Security Dealers.
In 1973, he joined Litton Guidance & Control Systems Division as a Senior Field Engineer responsible for the establishment and operation of an Inertial Navigation Laboratory at an Army Air Intelligence Squadron, Fort Wainwright, Fairbanks, Alaska and the US Naval Air Station, Alameda. He retired from Litton in 1992.
In 1954, Wallace married Doris Wright in Kodiak, Alaska. The couple resides in Alameda.