William Wallace visited and signed the Tucson Register twice. His first landing was on Tuesday, December 14, 1926 at 4:30PM. He was solo in the Boeing FB-1 he identified as A-6891. He arrived from El Paso, TX and remained overnight, departing at 12:45 the next afternoon westbound to San Diego, CA, his home base. Wallace noted in the Remarks column of the Register, "Transcontinental flight."
About six weeks later, Wallace made the newspapers announcing a planned trans-Pacific flight as co-pilot in a Fokker F-10. His pilot was identified as Register Pilot Lee Schoenhair. The article, below, is from the Woodbridge (NJ) Leader of January 28, 1927. The Lowell (MA) Sun of the same date published a more brief article covering the same topic.
Plans for Trans-Pacific Flight, Woodbridge (NJ) Leader, January 28, 1927 (Source: Woodling)
The flight from San Diego to Hong Kong was planned to be non-stop from San Diego to Hawaii, then, "...with several -- but not many -- intermediate stops...." To my knowledge, this flight was never completed. Neither the preparations nor the attempt are documented in this REFERENCE.
Wallace was on the leading edge, though, because within the next six-months, the Pacific was crossed from California to Hawaii four times, once by military pilots and three times by civilian pilots. Register pilots Lester Maitland and Albert Hegenberger were the first military pilots to perform the feat in July, 1927. They and their airplane, the Fokker C-2, 26-202, are featured on this Web site.
Perhaps the most well-known of the civilian flights was the Dole Race, won by Register pilot Art Goebel during August, 1927. Your Webmaster's book, Winners' Viewpoints, about the preparations and execution of Goebel's Dole Race is linked just to the right.
Wallace's second landing at Tucson was on Sunday, July 12,1931 at 10:50AM. This time he flew solo in the Curtiss F6C-4, A-7404. His itinerary was westbound from Lordsburg, NM to San Diego, his home base. He remained in Tucson only 40 minutes before resuming his flight. No purpose was stated for this flight.
W.J. Wallace, Ca. 1948 (Source: Woodling)
From his alma mater, Washington College in Maryland, Wallace has an online biographical statement with a small photograph at the link. He was a 1918 graduate. The biography states, in part, "After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant. After his flight training, Wallace was stationed in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic until 1924. He was a squadron commander in China in the late 1920s.
"From the beginning, Wallace had an important role in World War II, for he was on the ground defending Oahu’s Ewa Airfield during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Soon promoted to colonel, Wallace was a commanding officer at the Battle of Midway, Okinawa, and Guadalcanal, where he was wounded.
"One of Washington College’s most decorated alumni, Wallace received a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and a Distinguished Service Medal [DSM], as well as other medals with stars for his service." He also received the Legion of Merit award. The DSM and Legion of Merit awards are documented at the link. At some point he was promoted to Lieutenant General. His nickname, as Lt. General, was "3-Star Billy." Wallace was feted with an honorary Doctor of Laws at Washington University on June 6, 1948. The photograph, above left, was taken then.
And further from the online biography, "From 1948-1950, Wallace served as Director of USMC Aviation, and he was commander of the Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force in Santa Ana, California until his retirement in 1952. Wallace died in 1977 at age 82."
Further to his military career, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1918. As a lieutenant colonel, he was executive officer of Marine Aircraft Group 21 on Hawaii when the Japanese attacked. Later, as a colonel, he commanded Marine Aircraft Group 23 at Guadalcanal and, as a brigadier general, commanded the Air Defense and Fighter Command in Okinawa in 1945. From 1945 to 1950, Major General Wallace was the director of Marine Corps aviation. In 1952, after 34 years of service, he retired with the rank of lieutenant general. He died July 7, 1977.
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