STANDISH — Cpl. Tyler Wallingford, 21, who was fatally shot April 12 at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in Beaufort, South Carolina, was “just an unbelievable kid,” said Standish Fire Chief Robert Caron.
Cpl. Spencer Daily has been taken into custody as a suspect in the barracks shooting, which is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Both he and Wallingford were aircraft ordnance technicians with the Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501.
Wallingford, a third generation firefighter, joined Standish Fire/EMS as soon as he turned 16, Caron said. His father, Richard, is a deputy chief at the station and has worked there for decades, so Tyler “had always been here hanging out when dad was here.”
Wallingford was a junior firefighter from 2013 to 2016. He graduated from Bonny Eagle High School in 2015 and later enlisted in the Marines.
“He was always here helping out,” Caron said. “There’s not a lot junior firefighters can do. He would always push the boundaries and do everything he could to get beyond that.”
Whenever he was on leave, he would come back to visit, and the crew kept his gear ready at the station for him because they “wanted him to come back whenever he could.”
Caron remembers that Wallingford “had the biggest smile. He smiled all the time. He’d go into a room of angry, upset people and when he left everyone would be laughing and smiling.”
“He lived for the moment. It didn’t matter what was scheduled for tomorrow or whatever. He put every ounce of focus on whatever was in front of him,” he continued.
While in the Marines, Wallingford became interested in skydiving and soon completed his 100th jump.
“He was well on his way to 200. He just loved to do that. He bought all his own gear,” Caron said.
Wallingford knew how to get under your skin, Caron said, but “he knew how to do it without making you mad. He was a very, very, very likeable kid. He was just an unbelievable kid.”
The circumstances of Wallingford’s death are still unknown.
“That’s kind of what’s been stumping everybody. The family is still waiting to find out what happened. They’re not sure when he’s coming home yet. Everything’s still up in the air,” Caron said.
A private military funeral service for family and friends will be held locally.
Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at email@example.com.
Cpl. Tyler Wallingford found a second home at the Standish Fire/EMS, where he was a junior firefighter while a student at Bonny Eagle High School. He was killed April 12 in South Carolina.
Tyler Wallingford, pictured here at the scene of a fire with Standish Fire/EMS.