Mr. Wallingford entered the U.S. Army in 1969 and completed basic and advanced infantry training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He completed paratrooper school at Fort Benning, Georgia, and attended Special Forces, phase one training, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Sent to Vietnam in August 1970, Mr. Wallingford was assigned as a sniper with the 25th Infantry Division. One year later, he volunteered for a second tour of duty as a military advisor with MACV (Military Assistance Command Vietnam).
While advising 200 South Vietnamese troops on April 5, 1972, at Loc Ninh, South Vietnam, he and four other Americans came under heavy mortar and artillery fire from three divisions (30,000 troops) of North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong soldiers. After two and one-half days of oppressive and massive fighting, the numerically superior enemy overran his camp. Severely wounded, he was one of three survivors taken prisoner (six days before his scheduled discharge). Imprisoned in the jungles of Cambodia in a five-foot by six-foot “tiger cage” for more than 10 months, he was repatriated Feb. 12, 1973. He was one of the first two Texans to return home following the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement.
His military awards and decorations include: the Silver Star, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, Prisoner of War Medal, and 12 other medals and unit citations.
He is currently the senior advisor to the executive secretary of the Veterans Land Board, where he has served his fellow veterans for 26 years.