DALLAS -- Captain Ellery Ray Wallace is a true Texan. As a kid, he spent time in Big Spring, Kermit and Dell City. Once it was time to head off to college, he chose to attend the University of Utah where he was a member of the ROTC.
"He has always loved military anything. He had an uncle in the military and would grill him endlessly. His grandfather was in the military. And he used to read and study everything military," said his widow, Janelle. "So 'W' was his favorite encyclopedia. And they used to catch him hiding anywhere just reading about weapons, war, and Washington. He loved to study General Washington and why he was such a good leader.
"I wanna say his grandfather was a huge influence. Because he was a captain in the Army as well."
According to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (or TAPS), after graduating college in 2003, he immediately joined the Army and arrived at Fort Campbell in 2008. He was a Cavalry officer commanding Troop B, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
On August 29, 2010, Capt. Wallace died in Nahagahar, Afghanistan from wounds he got when his military vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade.
"Well, we had an odd feeling before he left that something was different. Because he's been deployed before... there was just something wrong with this one," said Janelle. "But he left a little bit early. They wanted the leaders of all the squadrons to meet the leaders of the villages...so they went...and got ambushed on the way back..."
The other thing he loved? Football. And it was during round two of the 2018 NFL Draft when he was honored thanks to TAPS and the NFL.
"My oldest used to sit and watch with him all the time. And they were pretty young when he passed away but the oldest remembers, so I figured he would be the best one to announce the pick.
"To be able to go up there and even help them announce someone, that's just an honor. He would be ecstatic."
Thank you for your service, Capt. Wallace. You are a true hero.