Voice of the people: Roger Larsen




Continued questions over candidate's military service 


On June 9, The Dispatch ran a front-page story about WW II paratrooper Bradford Freeman of Caledonia, who was a guest of honor in France at the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. The article stated that Mr. Freeman was accompanied by Steve Wallace of Columbus and went on to say that Mr. Wallace had been an airborne soldier in Vietnam. 


On Friday, July 12, The Dispatch ran a correction on page 3 that stated that "The Dispatch incorrectly noted Steve Wallace's military service. He served in the 541st Parachute Infantry Division as part of a Reserve Officer Training Corps but did not serve in combat overseas."  


On July 16, The Dispatch printed a letter from me on this matter. I noted that it has been well known in Columbus for years that Mr. Wallace served in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam and now The Dispatch was suggesting that all he ever did was go to ROTC summer camp. I also pointed out that the 541st Parachute Infantry Division was phased out of existence in 1948. I ended my letter by noting that the correction itself was incorrect and asked, "What is going on here?" 


Another week has gone by and we still don't know what is going on. The Dispatch's correction was not accurate because Mr. Wallace was not yet born when the 541st Parachute Division was eliminated. The matter is of some immediate importance because Mr. Wallace is a public figure (he's a long-time public defender and is the current chairman of the CVB board) and because he is standing for election as county attorney in two weeks -- and this is a position of trust and responsibility. 


There's not much time before the election, but I hope you can straighten all of this out by then. I see two possible explanations: 


1. Mr. Wallace was disgusted that anyone would question his Vietnam service and backhanded The Dispatch by saying his only military service was as an ROTC cadet in a defunct unit. 


2. Mr. Wallace has been misrepresenting his military service for years and, when forced to go on the record, cited his ROTC participation but enhanced it with the reference to an old combat unit. 


I hope The Dispatch will use its resources to resolve this issue before the election. 


Roger Larsen 





printer friendly version | back to top






Follow Us:

Follow Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us via Email