February 27, 1945 – Herman Claudious Wallace Medal of Honor recipient (June 12, 1924– February 27, 1945) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.
Wallace joined the Army from Lubbock, Texas in June 1943, and by February 27, 1945 was serving as a private first class in Company B, 301st Engineer Combat Battalion, 76th Infantry Division. On that day, during demining operations near Prümzurlay in western Germany, Wallace stepped on an S-mine. Knowing that if he tried to run away the mine would pop up and explode a few feet off the ground, thus endangering the soldiers near him, he deliberately remained standing on the mine until it detonated. Wallace was killed in the explosion, but the blast was confined to the ground and no other soldiers were injured.
Private First Class Wallace’s official Medal of Honor citation reads:
He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity. While helping clear enemy mines from a road, he stepped on a well-concealed S-type antipersonnel mine. Hearing the characteristic noise indicating that the mine had been activated and, if he stepped aside, would be thrown upward to explode above ground and spray the area with fragments, surely killing 2 comrades directly behind him and endangering other members of his squad, he deliberately placed his other foot on the mine even though his best chance for survival was to fall prone. Pvt. Wallace was killed when the charge detonated, but his supreme heroism at the cost of his life confined the blast to the ground and his own body and saved his fellow soldiers from death or injury.