Sergeant Ernie Wayne Wallace

Local war hero retired U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Ernie W. Wallace passed away Tuesday, March 11, 2008, after a long and courageous battle with lung cancer. Ernie passed away peacefully at his home in North Ferry Farm with his family at his side.

Ernie was born Jan. 30, 1944, in Wayne, W.Va., to Susie Maynard Wallace and Ernie Wallace. After graduation from Wayne County High School, Ernie enlisted in the Marine Corps, which resulted in a 22-year career.

A highly decorated veteran, Ernie received numerous awards, including the Navy Cross, the second-highest medal awarded by the Department of the Navy and the second-highest award given for valor. Ernie's heroic action during Operation Starlite, the first major campaign of the Vietnam War, is on display at the National Marine Corps Museum and was televised by Fox News.

After retirement from the Marine Corps, Ernie applied his work ethic at PermaTreat in Fredericksburg. Ernie enjoyed the hard labor and the opportunity to form many long-lasting and mutually respectful friendships. Ernie's reputation for honesty and a "job done right the first time" earned him a second successful career, where he served as service and sales manager.

Ernie's many quiet enjoyments during his lifetime included beekeeping. During an interview with reporter Amy Umble of The Free Lance-Star, Ernie admitted to admiring the work ethic of the honeybee and stated, "If the population of the U.S. would work like bees, we'd be very productive. They're always working." Ernie kept several hives for farms and friends around the area, and sold his honey locally at Roxbury Mills and produce stands.


Ernie also mentored several other beekeepers hoping to help save the local honeybee population.

Preceded in death by his parents, Ernie is survived by his loving wife, Donna Woodard Wallace, and Donna's parents, Clarence and Ruth Woodard, who thought of Ernie as their son. Ernie leaves behind two daughters, Anne Asercion and her husband, Alex, and Shelley Stone and her husband, Bowen; three sons, Jon Wallace and his wife, Lisa, Chad Curtis and his wife, Christine, and Bret Curtis; and nine grandchildren, Collin, Logan, Devyn, Adaire, Abigail, Kaila, Kendall, Krysten, and Diana. Ernie also leaves one sister, Kathryn Jervis and her husband, Jay; and three brothers, John Wallace and his wife, Wila-Dean, Charlie Wallace and his wife, Joyce, and Clyde Wallace; and numerous nieces and nephews. Ernie also leaves behind two brothers-in-law, Gregg Woodard and his wife, Robin, and Robert Woodard.

The family will receive friends Tuesday, March 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service, Fredericksburg Chapel.

A funeral will be held Wednesday, March 19, at 11 a.m. at the funeral home, with the Rev. Brenda Pusso officiating. Burial will follow in Quantico National Cemetery with full military honors provided by a Marine Corps honor guard and a Marine chaplain.

Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Semper Fi Luncheon Group.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Society, Box 22718, Oklahoma City, Okla. 73123-1718 or

Navy Cross
DURING Vietnam War
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Lance Corporal
Battalion: 2d Battalion
Division: 3d Marine Division (Rein.) FMF
Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals


The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lance Corporal Ernie W. Wallace (MCSN: 2034491), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a machine gunner with Company H, Second Battalion, 

 Fourth Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, during Operation STARLITE against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam on 18 August 1965. While the platoon to which he was attached was temporarily pinned down by intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire, Corporal Wallace and one rifle squad took cover in a trench. Realizing that the enemy was closing in on the squad in the trench line, he fearlessly moved into an exposed position and, firing his machine gun from the offhand and assault positions at close range, delivered such devastating fire into the stunned adversary that he personally accounted for twenty-five dead enemy, allowing the squad he was with to maneuver to a more advantageous area. Throughout the rest of the day he was seemingly inexhaustible in his efforts. Time and again he fearlessly exposed himself, as he dashed out into the open to provide cover by fire for the evacuation of wounded Marines in exposed areas. On one such occasion the bipod was shot from his weapon; however, he was not deterred as he continued to fire, accounting for the killing of fifteen more of the enemy. His outstanding performance of duty undoubtedly saved many Marine lives and materially aided the company in turning the tide of battle into a virtual annihilation of a numerically superior foe. Corporal Wallace's extraordinary heroism and inspiring dedication to duty reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

1st Recon Battalion

Patrol Report

SSgt Ernie Wallace & Jim Southall in our hooch.

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