“Get back, Gus, get back!” Those were the last words of U.S. Army Air Corp. Pfc. Daniel F. Wallock as he warned Pfc. Gus Boggild and others from his unit not to come ashore at Pegun Island.
Earlier that day – August 17, 1944 – Wallock and Boggild were part of a rescue party in search of a downed airplane and its crew. When they reached Pegun Island, near Dutch New Guinea, Wallock and two other enlisted men volunteered to go ashore and search further while Boggild and the others left to search a different island, where they eventually discovered the missing airmen and rescued them.
When Boggild returned to Pegun Island, signals were sounded for Wallock and when no response was received, Boggild and one other man started to wade ashore to investigate. Suddenly, a wounded Pvt. Wallock, crawling along a reef, shouted his warning to stay away. He was immediately shot several times by Japanese snipers waiting in ambush.
For his brave actions that saved the lives of his friend Gus and other soldiers while disregarding his own safety, Wallock was awarded the Silver Star, presented posthumously to his mother, Dorothy, who was living in Milwaukee at the time. Mrs. Wallock subsequently gave the medal to Daniel Henry Wallock, infant son of Daniel’s brother, Lt. Donald Bill Wallock, who was serving as a B-29 navigator in Guam.
July 26, 1944
Dear Mom + all:
No doubt you have my letter to Bette by now. I got her letter the other day, the first letter since April 20th except the one from Aunt Julia. It sure was good to hear from home, I guess that my mail is finally catching up with me. Im [sic] glad to hear that sis is going to see Orlena, I’ve been wondering about that for some time. I’m very glad to hear that you like the plane I sent you. Im [sic] inclosing some Jap invasion money, thought you might like to see some. I got it from a native for a can of “bully beef” (corned beef), they come around to our boat in a canoe from off the islands. Anyone can see by my heading I (military censor). I doubt very much if I’ll be (military censor) This new base naturally [sic] means a change of address.
P.F.C. Daniel F. Wallock, 36814552, Air Sea Rescue, [illegible] Comm. Post.
A.P.O. 920 c/o P.M. San Francisco.
At the present time we are laid up for a repair job on the engines. So while thats [sic]
Being done Im [sic] painting the deck. There’s always plenty of that to do. (military censor) ago I saw my first air raid, the Nips had some planes over (military censor). They were pretty high up and their bombs (military censor). You should have seen the searchlights and [illegible] [illegible] that was poured at them. It sure was a pretty nice show. I was kinda hoping to get a crack at them with my .50s but no luck. I suppose my chance may come sooner than I expect.
O, say Mom you should see the wonderful corn fritters I can make. Our cook is sick in the hospital and one of the fellows showed me how. We are all taking turns at cooking and we don’t do bad at all. I also taught the boys how to play Sheepshead and we sure do have some wild games. Terry sure would enjoy himself if he were here what with all the planes that fly overhead and the various navy boats Ive [sic] seen plus the (military censor) boat. I sure have seen quite a bit since I started traveling up the coast. Right now Im (sic) sitting on the forward deck and the sunset sure is beautiful. It’s really pretty Mom but I’d much rather be back home.
Well honey take care of your self (sic) and say hello to every one (sic) for me.
Love to all, your son
Nov. 27, 1944
Dear Mr. + Mrs. Wallock and family,
I know it’s late to offer my sympathies but we were not permitted to write until official notification had been confirmed. I can assure you I felt Danny’s loss very deeply.
I first met Danny at Jefferson Barracks and we became good friends. I was older than Danny and he always felt free to ask my advice. On the trip over our friendship was further cemented. Upon our arrival in New Guinea I was assigned to a crash boat. Danny had a love for boats and the water and wished to be in the same outfit. I managed to get him on. We had good times together and accomplished good rescue work.
Then our ill-fated mission on Pengun Island in the Mapia group. Danny and two others were sent ashore to search for the missing pilots. They never had a chance. The minute they stepped foot in the jungle they were ambushed. After a time we became alarmed at their prolonged absence and I and two others went ashore to search for them. When we reached the shore it was Danny’s cry that warned us and gave us a chance to fight our way back to safety.
I always admired Danny’s sincerity and his unfound love for his family. Mother, Dad, brother, sister, and kid brother. He spoke of you often and I feel as tho [sic] I know you all. Also a little girl in St. Louis. He loved her too and had great plans for the future.
For whatever consolation it may be Danny died not in vain. As long as I live I never will forget him as fatally wounded he crawled out on the beach and cried, “Get back Gus, get back”. A truly great hero!
If ever I can be of any service please call upon me. I enclose my home address.
65 East 2 Street