Private First Class Herman C. Wallace was born in 1924 and grew up in Marlow, Oklahoma. Wallace joined the U.S. Army from Lubbock, Texas, in June 1943. He served in Company B, 301st Engineer Combat Battalion, 76th Infantry Division.
On 27 February 1945, during de-mining operations near Prümzurlay in Western Germany, Wallace stepped on a well-concealed S-type antipersonnel mine. Hearing the characteristic noise indicating that the mine had been activated, Wallace was faced with an awful dilemma requiring a split-second decision. If he stepped aside, the mine would be thrown upward to explode above ground and spray the area with fragments, surely killing two fellow Soldiers directly behind him and endangering other members of his squad. Even though he knew his best chance for survival was to fall prone, Wallace chose to deliberately place his other foot on the mine. In so doing, when the charge detonated, Wallace voluntarily gave up his own life in a supreme act of selflessness and heroism in order to save others. Wallace's ultimate sacrifice kept the explosion confined to the ground, thus saving the other Soldiers from certain injury or death.
Private First Class Wallace was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on 25 October 1945.
Wallace was also awarded the Purple Heart Medal for the fatal wounds sustained, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Army Combat Infantryman Badge. His remains were buried in the city of Lubbock, Texas.