Wallace A. Stanberry
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 1941 - September 1945
Aircraft gunner

"I was born in the front bedroom of the Burney house in Vivian, Louisiana," says Wallace. He was less specific about his birth to the Navy. Anxious to enlist, even before Pearl Harbor, he asked his family doctor for a birth certificate, reminding him that he was born in 1924. The physician forgot Wallace was actually born in 1925. So the youngster joined the Navy as a sixteen-year-old who, presciently enough for his age, saw war coming and preferred not to fight it as a foot soldier. After boot camp in Norfolk, Virginia, Wallace finished aviation ordnance school. He trained as a gunner on the Curtis SOCs, also called Seagulls, and later flew Kingfishers. He sailed to the Atlantic on the USS Savannah (CL-42) a light cruiser that patrolled for German submarines. Wallace served in the invasion of North Africa, and then was returned to the states where he was transferred to the USS Baltimore (CA-68). He ran the cruiser's ordnance shop while making "every invasion, every action from Makin until the time the war ended," he claims. In 1944 President Franklin Roosevelt boarded the Baltimore for a seven-week tour of the Pacific. Fala, the president's dog, was aboard, too. Several sailors snipped some of the terrier's hair for souvenirs. Wallace was discharged in September of 1945. He worked as a roughneck briefly, and then earned a degree in petroleum engineering from Louisiana State University. He worked for Gulf Oil Company, and then went into business as a consulting engineer.