BY WILLIAM R. I. "EASY" SMITH
I arrived in Cu Chi, Republic of Vietnam near the end of February 1967. Upon my arrival I met George David Wallace aka Wally. I don't recall ever knowing his real name in Nam as was with many others I only knew by nickname.
Wally and I became close friends. He was my best friend and now I know he was best friend to many. I had other "best" friends too.
On the night of June 3, 1967 Wally was killed by enemy fire while on ambush. I was informed of his death and took it very hard. When the platoon sergeant saw how emotional I was affected by Wally's death he warned me about making friends.
Every day since I left Nam not a day goes by that Wally is not on my mind. I wanted to search for his family but it was a useless effort because I did not have his full name.
That changed sometime in 2002 after a visit to Mike Moschkin's house when I answered an email from Tom Demunnick, from my former platoon.
Tom had only been the third person I had communicated with from the platoon (the others being Charles "Chuck" Farmer; Anthony Tasconie and "Doc" Alan Mitose (both medics). It was from these men that I would learn the real names of some of the men I was searching for.
But, it would be Joe Wanta who Tom located that I would learn Wally's real name. And in 2002 I was finally able to get a rubbing of his name from the Wall in D. C.
Yet, a piece was still missing and Tom furnished that by providing me with a page from a tablet he kept with Wally's mother's name and address. For 3 years I searched for his mother, Virginia Wallace with no luck.
Some of the other pieces would come from Jimmy Johnson who wrote about the incident of Wally's death shortly after it happened.
But, recently while visiting Wally's page on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall on the internet I found a post from his sister, Betty Marshall. The post also had the names of his two brothers, Kenneth Ray and Dennis.
And the week of June 3, 2005 I placed a very emotional call to his brother Kenneth Ray. We talked for quite some time about GD as the family called him. I learned that Wally's mother Virginia had passed away three years ago October. Additionally, an older brother Reuben passed five days later. I had asked for a picture of my friend and he sent it the next day.
Finally, on June 3rd I got a call from his sister. A bit nervous about returning the call I finally did and it too was a very emotional experience. But, we talked for two hours discussing the some of the same things as I did with Kenneth Ray.
I informed her that her brother was a good soldier. That we had days we laughed and some days there was no laughter. Wally loved Beechnut Tobacco and often tried to get me to try it .... I never did. He spoke a lot about the farm back home.
She was in awe that after all these years someone would still remember him. I told her that many remember Wally.
He is not forgotten