WAUPUN, WIS. — The Wisconsin Army National Guard memorialized two fallen Soldiers during a command remembrance ceremony Sunday that named the Waupun National Guard Armory drill hall in their honor.
Sgt. Andrew Wallace and Spc. Michael Wendling of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry were killed Sep. 26, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near their humvee during a convoy operation near Shaibah, Iraq.
As two Soldiers solemnly unveiled the Wallace-Wendling Memorial Drill Hall plaque, Capt. Jeffrey Hanssen, the ceremony’s emcee, said, “In honor of the service and sacrifice made by Sgt. Wallace, Spc. Wendling and their families, we have formally dedicated the Waupun Armory Drill Hall in their names.”
“We must never forget the way they lived their lives, the volunteer spirit of our country, to know that a 9-11 deployment into a combat zone was a sure thing and still stand there and serve and go and take that risk,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin adjutant general and commander of the Wisconsin National Guard.
Several past and present Soldiers who served with both men made heartfelt remarks remembering both Wallace’s and Wendling’s spirit and service.
“They were great guys,” said Nathan Becker, who served with both Soldiers during that deployment, “I think about them every day and everyone who was with us [during the deployment] thinks about them every day as well.”
Wallace graduated from Ripon High School and joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 1999. Upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, he worked as a physical education teacher and assistant wresting coach at Oshkosh North High School. He is survived by his wife, Angela.
“Andrew touched so many lives and the people who loved him struggle with his loss every day,” said Jake Paulson, who grew up with Wallace and joined the Guard with him. “I want his family to know and never doubt that we carry his spirit with us every day. I hope a ceremony like today shows the families that we think of Andrew and Michael and their families every single day.”
Wendling graduated from Mayville High School and joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 2002. He was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee prior to being called to active duty in May 2005.
“He made your job easy,” 1st Lt. Joshua Doro, who once was Wendling’s team leader, said. “He made it easy for you to be good at your job. He was a dependable Soldier that made it easy for all of his NCOs and officers.”
The Waupun Armory is the current home of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry.