Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran William Edward Hall, who served as an aviator in the Pacific Theatre of World War II.
William Edward Hall was born in October 1913 in Storrs, Utah. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 1938 after graduating from Redlands University in California. He completed flight training at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base in Long Beach, California, and at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. After completing training and receiving the rank of ensign, Hall was assigned to Scouting Squadron 5 aboard USS Yorktown. In February 1942, he took part in American attacks on Japanese bases on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands in the Pacific Ocean. In the same month, he was transferred to USS Enterprise until April 1942.
While serving in the Pacific Theatre, Hall was a scout pilot attached to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington’s Scouting Squadron 2. In this position, he fought in the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May 1942, the first naval battle to include aircraft carriers on both sides and where no ships were directly fired on by enemy ships, but instead by aircraft launched from aircraft carriers. The Japanese and Americans both used their aircraft to bomb enemy ships and shoot down enemy aircraft. Hall aided in the destruction of the Japanese aircraft carrier, Shoho. During the next day of the battle, he piloted an anti-torpedo patrol aircraft and defended USS Lexington from enemy attacks. He shot down the lead aircraft of a squadron of Japanese torpedo bombers as well as two other enemy aircraft. Despite having received serious damage to his aircraft and himself, Hall successfully landed.
For these actions, Rear Adm. Ralston S. Holmes presented a Congressional Medal of Honor to Hall at the U.S. Naval Yard in San Diego in November 1942. He also received a Purple Heart for his actions during the Battle of the Coral Sea. After recovering from injuries, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and became an instructor at the Naval Air Station at Daytona Beach, Florida. He was promoted again in 1944 to the rank of lieutenant commander. He also served at the Naval Air Stations in Miami and Seattle during World War II. During the final months of the war, Hall was assigned to staff duty with Commander Fleet Air in the Western Pacific.
Hall left active duty in 1946 with the rank of lieutenant commander but remained in the Naval Reserve until 1960. In November 1996, Hall died at the age of 83 in Kansas City, Missouri. He is buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas.
We honor his service.
Carry the Load
In 2022, VA is joining forces with Carry The Load to honor veterans during the “Memorial May” March, a national relay visiting 50 VA national cemeteries to honor our nation’s fallen service members. A link to this webpage is here. The complete list of participating cemeteries can be found here. Volunteers are encouraged to register in advance.
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Writer: Jack Patterson
Editors: Annabelle Colton, Nathaniel Scott
Researchers: Timothy Georgetti, David Charles Deprez
Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley
Project Manager: Oasis Diaz