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Daniel Wallace loved being in the military and helping others. He was a man of faith and he loved his family.
“Danny is my fallen hero,” said his mother, Karen, through tears at a press conference on Nov. 5 in Frankfort.
Wallace, of Dry Ridge, was killed on Oct. 31 in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked by enemy forces.
“Sgt. Daniel Wallace was a true patriot who willingly stood up and answered the call to serve his nation in a time of need,” Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Adjutant General for Kentucky, said.
Wallace, 27, was a 2001 graduate of Grant County High School. He enlisted in the Kentucky Army National Guard in May 2006 and was a member of Company C, of the 201st in Cynthiana. In Afghanistan, he was assigned to the battalion’s Company B, out of Olive Hill.
Wallace was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in March of 2008 and deployed to Afghanistan in May, where he was part of “Task Force Workhorse”, which is responsible for maintaining hundreds of miles of roads and removing roadside bombs or IEDs.
Wallace was serving as a gunner on an armor-protected vehicle. When a piece of equipment was knocked loose, he stepped outside the vehicle and was killed by a single bullet, Tonini said.
Other vehicles in the convoy moved their vehicles to surround him while coming under heavy fire from Taliban attackers in the West Paktika Province. Tonini said as many as 20 were eventually killed by the Kentucky platoon.
“At the time, many villagers were planting winter wheat in the field, there were goat herders and children playing nearby. It was typical of what you’d expect in a safe area,” Tonini said.
At the time of his death, Wallace held the rank of Specialist (E4), but was posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant (E5) and awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Army Good Conduct medal.
Wallace’s body is being flown back to Kentucky from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Funeral arrangements are pending.
“He loved his job,” his mother said. “Danny had a lot of faith and a lot of sympathy for people.”
When soldiers in his unit weren’t getting mail, Wallace called his mother and asked her to write to them.
When his father’s truck needed new tires, Wallace, who was home on leave just a few weeks ago, took the truck and put them on for his father, Kenneth.
“He was the type of person to help out anytime he could,” said his brother, Alex Wallace, who is a medic in the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 940th Military Police Company in Walton.
In Afghanistan, Wallace was instrumental in helping to build a chapel and spent a lot of time learning to play guitar.
“He was military through and through and he did love his job,” Alex said.
“He was truly a remarkable soldier and we’ll never forget this true American patriot,” Tonini said.
Wallace is the 17th Kentucky Army National Guard soldier to lose his life since the war on terror began in 2001. He is the third Kentucky Guardsman to be lost in Afghanistan.
Survivors include his parents, Karen and Kenneth Wallace, two brothers, Charles and Alex Wallace, a sister, Kim and a 6-year-old son.