By Stanford Conway
It is time to meet the commander of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force, Lt. Col. Patrick Wallace.
Do you know him?
He is the top brass in the Force. Above him there is no other. And below more than a battalion strong await his orders.
Well! If you do not know who Wallace is now is the time; for while you are asleep in the comfort of your warm beds, he and his venerable corps of officers and other ranks toil throughout the nights, sometimes under adverse weather conditions, to ensure the safety of the nation.
Born Feb. 13, 1958, to Nellie Wallace and Monroe Greene on St. Kitts, Lt. Col. Wallace is a product of the defunct St. Kitts-Nevis Technical College (SKNTC) and steps to his graduation from that institution began at the Basseterre Boys School thence to Basseterre High.
Shortly after his stint at the SKNTC, the nagging urge for adventure coupled with patriotism motivated the ambitious young Wallace to enlist in the Regular Corps of the SKNDF, where he served conscientiously until disbandment of that unit in 1981.
At this juncture of his early working life, Wallace had to make a career decision; he either returned to civilian life or accept posting to the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force.
He chose the latter.
During his tenure in the Police Force, Wallace was transferred to the Marine Unit in 1984 and within that same year he successfully completed the Basic Officer Training Course at the Coast Guard Officers Candidate School in the United States of America.
Wallace, who strongly believes that success comes through hard work, sacrifice, dedication and commitment, was posted to the Coast Guard Cutter “STALWART” as First Lieutenant on return to his homeland on completion of the overseas course.
He also held the appointments of Navigation Officer, Executive Officer and Commanding Officer while serving on the STALWART.
Wallace’s expertise on water was not confined to the Federation, for in 1990 he served as a Seamanship and Navigation Instructor with the Regional Security System and, some two years after he was appointed Commanding Officer of the Police Marine Unit, which was then called the St. Kitts-Nevis Coast Guard.
Wallace also believes that the sky is the limit in everything he sets out to do and. “If you cannot get there then let the clouds be your cushion of solace.”
In addition to his basic and advanced training while in the Coast Guard, Wallace successfully completed the Patrol Craft Commanders Course conducted by the Canadian Coast Guard College in 1988 and, six years after, he graduated with distinction from the Naval Staff College of the US Naval War College.
With the re-establishment of the SKNDF in 1997, Wallace returned to the Regular Corps and was elevated to the rank of Major and appointed Commanding Officer of the Force’s Coast Guard unit.
In 2003, Wallace again moved up the hierarchical ladder of the Federation’s military institution as a Lt Col but with the appointment of Commander.
He is happily married to the former Telca Daniel of Cayon Village from which union produced two daughters, Jervique and Shai.
Lt Col Patrick E Wallace, a strong advocate of discipline, noted that training is the lifeblood of all successful armies and the SKNDF is no different.
He added that the Force’s administration was not only deeply concerned with annual concentrated training of its members from the military perspective but also with their welfare and personal development.
The Commander also said placed great emphasis was being placed on making members of the Force multi-dimensional officers and soldiers who were not only committed to serving the nation, but also participating in regional exercises, “Tradewinds”, and assisting sister CARICOM countries in times of disasters and crises such as the one in Grenada last year.