Kenneth Richard Wallace

Published 8:35 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Captain Kenneth Richard Wallace (USN, Ret.) passed away at home on Sunday, February 28, 2016. He was born in Elizabethton, Tenn., on December 15, 1928, to Prince Henry and Lucy Gertrude (Thomas) Wallace.
Mr. Wallace received his wings in 1950 and joined Fighter Squadron 191. In that assignment he participated in two Korean cruises on board the USS Princeton. In June 1953 he became a member of the Blue Angels, flying the slot position. In April 1956, he reported as Naval Aviator and Operations Officer with Fighter Squadron 22 and in June 1958 transferred to Attack Squadron 44 to serve as Naval Aviator and A4 RAG Instructor. He then earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at the University of Mississippi, and returned to duty with the Blue Angels, again flying the slot position. In January 1962 he became Officer in Charge of that team. During that 1962 season, the Blue Angels performed before 6,502,600 viewers, breaking all previous attendance records.
In May 1964 he joined the USS Midway, serving as Naval Aviator and Assistant Air Operations Officer. After a tour of duty as Naval Aviator and F4 RAG student with Fighter Squadron 121, he reported in March 1966 as Executive Officer of Fighter Squadron 154, on board the USS Coral Sea. In October of that year he assumed command of that squadron. From May 1967 until May 1968 he served as Commander Carrier Air Wing 15 aboard USS Coral Sea. As an O-6, he later completed a third tour with the Blue Angels, as the Program Manager. In that newly created position, he selected and modified the A-4 aircraft and selected and trained new pilots for the 1973-74 season. He retired in 1976 and became Chief Pilot for the American Express Company.
Beloved by many, he is survived by his wife, the former Harriet C. Jenkins, of Elizabethton, Tenn., and their four daughters, Vickie Leigh Plasker (Bill), Pamela Sue Wallace, Lisa Anne Wallace (Scott Davidow) and Kendra Wallace Pak (Hui); seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; his sister, Pat Presnell; two nephews and a niece.
Funeral services will be held at Perdido Bay Methodist Church on Wednesday, March 9, at 12:30 p.m. Interment at Fort Barrancas will take place at 2:05 p.m., followed by a celebration of his life at the Perdido Bay Country Club. In lieu of flowers, the family is grateful for donations made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the American Cancer Society, or Perdido Bay United Methodist Church.

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