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.
Medals Awarded to Lieutenant Commander Wallace while serving with VF-31
- Distinguished Flying Cross
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.