Saturday, April 14, 2007

Brandon Wallace reported killed in Iraq

Army Staff Sgt. Brandon Wallace, 27, was supposed to leave Iraq and prepare to come home in two weeks.

He was supposed to marry an Army specialist he had met and proposed to while fighting in Iraq.

He was supposed to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer in his hometown of Festus.

Instead, his parents got a phone call Saturday morning asking them to come home right away. When they saw military personnel waiting for them, they knew none of those things would happen.

Wallace was killed Saturday by a roadside bomb in Fallujah. He had been deployed since May.

His father, Rickey Wallace, said his son had already served his active duty contract for three years in Germany and Kosovo and was called back to duty from the Individual Ready Reserve.

Brandon Wallace, who graduated from Crystal City High School in 1998, had been taking classes at the police academy in St. Charles, when the military told him he had been reactivated.

"In Brandon’s mind, he thought he was basically done," his father said. "He was shocked that they called him back."

Rickey Wallace urged his son to ask if he could graduate from the academy before being deployed, and the Army agreed.

Rickey Wallace said he had strong views about the war even before his son was deployed.

"I support the military," he said. But, "I think it’s a waste of time. I don’t think us being over there is going to change anything."

His mother, Robin Wallace, knew there was nothing she could do to stop the orders. Deployment was mandatory.

"Come back to me," she told her son before he left. She talked to his fiancée Saturday night to ask if her son suffered before he died. She was relieved to hear that he had died instantly.

The Wallaces were still in shock from the news Saturday night.

"You hope this is a mistake," his mother said. "Then, it’s like a dream."

They have only spoken to their son’s fiancée over the phone. They will meet her for the first time next week when she brings their son’s body home.

From the Dispatch