William Wallace, Sr., born on April 1, 1922, grew up in Millen, Georgia. After graduating high school, he joined the Army Air Corps on October 14, 1939, and became part of the 16th bomb squadron. A couple of weeks before World War II officially started, William Wallace was stationed at Fort McKinley in Luzon, Philippines.
After the United States surrendered in the Battle of Bataan, Wallace was taken prisoner by the Japanese army, and was forced to walk approximately 60 miles from Bataan to Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac, Philippines, with little food or water. Now known as the Bataan Death March, the walk resulted in hundreds of deaths. He was later transported on a “hell ship” to Niigata, Japan, to work for Rinko Coal Company.
In August of 1945, Wallace was liberated to San Francisco, California. After returning to Georgia, he married Mary Dickey and reenlisted into the Air Corps, where he served until 1949. He later graduated from Mercer University’s School of Theology, and pastored in small Baptist churches until 1991. He received the Bronze Star in 1985 and the Prisoner of War Medal in 1992. Wallace died in February of 1995.
William Wallace, Sr. and Mary Dickey Wallace had two children: William Wallace, Jr. and Carolyn Wallace. Their son, William Wallace, Jr. recorded his oral history with the Museum of History and Holocaust Education on October 30, 2018.