Notable People

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Rear Admiral Sidney A. Wallace


Sidney Arthur Wallace was born on 16 October 1927 in Alcoa, TN, and received his high school diploma from the Baylor School at Chattanooga, TN, in 1945.  He was graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Engineering and with a commission of Ensign on June 3, 1949.

During later service assignments he earned a degree of Juris Doctor with Honors from George Washington University National Law Center, Washington, DC in June 1968, graduated with distinction from the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL, in May 1969, and earned a Master’s Degree of Political Science from Auburn University, Auburn, AL, in August 1969.

His earliest tours of duty were served on board the Coast Guard cutters USCGC Mendota out of Wilmington, NC from June 1949 to July 1951, and the USCGC Finch out of Green Cove Springs, FL and Curtis Bay, MD, for the next six months.

After taking flight training at Pensacola, FL, and at Corpus Christi, TX, from January 1952 to February 1953, he was designated Coast Guard Aviator No. 655.  There followed assignments as search and rescue aviator with additional duties at Coast Guard Air Stations at San Francisco from March 1953 to November 1955 as Administrative Assistant to the Executive Officer; at Kodiak, AK to July 1957 as Communications and Electronics Officer; at Elizabeth City, NC, to March 1960 as Assistant Operations Officer and Administration Officer; and at Barbers Point, HI to June 1964 as Flight Safety Officer and Survival Equipment Officer.

Reporting in the Office of Operations at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC, in June 1964, he served, respectively, as Chief, Flight Safety Branch, Chief, Aviation Support Section, and as Assistant Chief, Aviation Branch.  In August 1968, he was assigned as Student at the Air War College in Alabama, after which he assumed command of the new Coast Guard Air Station at New Orleans, LA, in August 1969.  While there he rose to rank of Captain.

RADM Wallace next returned to Headquarters in May 1971 to assume the duty of Chief, Marine Environmental Protection Division, Office of Marine and Environmental Systems.  For his service in connections with an International Marine Pollution Conference in 1973, he was awarded the Coast Guard Commendation Medal.

On January 17, 1975, Wallace was among five Captains nominated by President Ford for the rank of Rear Admiral, with approval of his rank by the Senate being effective as of July 1, 1975.

Subsequently to his appointment as flag officer, RADM Wallace was designated Chief, Office of Public and International Affairs effective in May 1975.  For that tour of duty he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (presented in July 1977).

In February 1977, RADM Wallace assumed the newly created post of Executive Director, Marine Safety Task Force on Tanker Safety in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation where he concurrently served as the Maritime Policy Advisor to the Secretary. For that tour of duty he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

RADM Wallace retired from the Coast Guard in December 1978 to accept a position as Counsel to the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, U.S. House of Representatives (the House committee then having the Coast Guard within its jurisdiction). He left Capitol Hill in 1981 to enter the private practice of law.

After active duty, RADM Wallace:

  • Represented the House MM&F Committee on US delegations to meetings of IMO bodies (1979-80)
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States: Chairman, Marine Ecology Committee (4 years); represented MLA on US delegations to the IMO Legal Committee and two diplomatic conferences related to environmental protection
  • Marine Board of the National Research Council (4 years, the last 2 years as chairman)
  • Individual Member, Advisory Committee on Pollution of the Sea (ACOPS), London
  • Represented environmental organizations (ACOPS and International Union for Conservation of Nature) at sessions of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC)
  • Member, Senior Advisors Committee, Marine Policy Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (5 years)
  • Practiced law as Counsel to the law firm Dyer, Ellis, & Joseph, then (after merger) Blank Rome (19 years)
  • In 1988, the United States Government nominated RADM Wallace for the post of Chairman, Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), International Maritime Organization (IMO). The MEPC elected him, and he served as chairman for the years 1989-1992. During this period he also served on the Board of Governors of the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden. For his service while Chairman of MEPC, the Commandant presented to him the Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award.
  • All told, his international trips on business related to protection of the marine environment exceeded 90 in number.

Following is a resume of his appointments in rank: Ensign, June 3, 1949; Lieutenant (jg), September 27, 1951; Lieutenant, May 1, 1955; Lieut. Commander, September 1, 1960; Commander, July 1, 1965; Captain, September 1, 1970; Rear Admiral, July 1, 1975.

In addition to the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Coast Guard Commendation Medal, RADM Wallace has the World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Expert Pistol Shot Medal.

RADM Wallace holds memberships in the following organizations: American Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar, Maritime Law Association of the United States (Member, Marine Ecology Committee), Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity, ABA Section of Insurance, Negligence and Compensation Law, National Political Science Honor Society (Phi Sigma Alpha), Director, U.S. Naval Institute (member of Institute since August 1951).

RADM Wallace’s wife is the former Jacqueline Theis of Islip, NY, a graduate of the Connecticut College for Women.  They have two sons, Wesley (deceased 10 May 2015) and Evan.

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