NORMAN — Wallace Melton is one of our American heroes who now lives at the Norman Veterans Center. He relates that he once pulled a gun on a general officer. But that story comes later.
Wallace attended high school in Henderson, Ky., graduating in 1944. He then went into the Army Air Corps and received his basic training at Sheppard AFB, Texas. His career field in the Air Corps was in communications. After basic training, he was sent to Scott Field, Ill., for cryptographic school, then to Keesler AFB, Miss., for radio school. His first permanent duty station was in an office building in downtown Harrisburg, Pa., where he was stationed for four-and-a-half years as a communications specialist.
He was then stationed on Guam for 18 months. He vividly remembers the exact dimensions of that remote island to this day. He was discharged and went home to Kentucky, where he stayed for about a year.
When the Korean War broke out, he re-enlisted at Tinker AFB. He was stationed in Korea for one year. From there, he was sent to High Wyckham Royal Air Force Base, England, from February 1952 through January 1955. After one year at McDill AFB, Fla., he was assigned to McGuire AFB, N.J. It was there that he had his unusual encounter with the general.
When the general tried to enter Wallace's secured facility without authorization, Wallace drew his gun and told him to leave. As “luck” would have it, he had another unusual encounter with this same general later in his career. As a group of C-54s was being ferried to Japan, they were about to run out of fuel and, due to some mis-communication, they ended up in Tokyo Bay. The general was not amused.
After retiring from the Air Force at 63, Wallace moved to Oklahoma City and started a remodeling company. His wife died four years ago.
The Norman Veterans Committee is planning a parade on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, to honor veterans like Wallace. The parade will begin at 2 p.m. at the corner of James Garner Boulevard and Eufaula, then proceed south on Jenkins Avenue to the veterans memorial at Reaves Park. A program is planned at the memorial, starting at 4 p.m.
Any group or person wishing to have an entry in the parade should contact the Norman Parks and Recreation Department at 366-5472 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an entry form.