Texas Tech University

Texas Tech Hosts Medal of Honor Memorial Dedication Ceremony

Amanda Castro-Crist

March 21, 2018

Medal of Honor

The ceremony will honor two Texas Tech University Medal of Honor recipients, U.S. Army Private First Class Herman Wallace and U.S. Marine Corps Second Lieutenant George O’Brien.

Texas Tech University's Military & Veterans Programs (MVP) and the Office of the President will host a memorial dedication and plaque unveiling ceremony honoring two Texas Tech Medal of Honor recipients at 2 p.m. Friday (March 23) at Memorial Circle. The event will include music from the Texas Tech Brass Ensemble and remarks from several local leaders honoring Herman Wallace, who served in the U.S. Army as a private first class during World War II, and George O'Brien, who served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. 

Herman Wallace
PFC Herman Wallace

“March 25 is National Medal of Honor Day,” said Col. Lou Ortiz, MVP director. “It is important that we honor these two brave Medal of Honor recipients in a special way at Texas Tech. They represent the values of service and sacrifice for the common good, integrity, character and courage that we should all cherish.”  

Phil Crenshaw, the last living chaplain's assistant from World War II, will deliver the ceremony invocation. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center President Tedd Mitchell will deliver the Medal of Honor citation narratives and will be joined by O'Brien family member Robb O'Brien and Aaron Clements, a Wallace family friend.

The ceremony also will include remarks from the following speakers:

  • Major General Bob DuLaney, U.S. Air Force Retired
  • Lieutenant Colonel Brett Ashworth, U.S. Air Force Retired and Texas Tech University System Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing 
  • Michael Galyean, Texas Tech Provost
  • Col. Lou Ortiz, U.S. Air Force Retired
  • Wallace attended Texas Tech as a freshman in 1942-43 before joining the U.S. Army in June 1943. He was killed in action on Feb. 27, 1945, while helping clear enemy mines on a road near Prumzurlay in western Germany. After stepping on a well-concealed antipersonnel mine, he deliberately placed his other foot on the mine to keep it from being thrown upward and spraying other squad members with shrapnel.

    George O’Brien
    Maj. George O'Brien
    (He was promoted in 1963, while serving in the Reserves.)

    When the charge detonated, Wallace was killed, but he saved his fellow squad members from injury or death. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on Oct. 25, 1945.

    O'Brien first served as a seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marines before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in July 1949 while attending Texas Tech. He graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor's degree in biology in May 1950 and was ordered to active duty in 1951.

    On Oct. 27, 1952, he spearheaded the capture of an enemy-held hill. Though wounded and thrown to the ground by gunfire, he stood up and continued to lead his men, pausing only to help another wounded marine. Exactly one year later, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    A reception will immediately follow the ceremony in Suite 115B of the Administration Building. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees must RSVP by email to presidents.events@ttu.edu or call 806-742-2121.

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