Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lieutenant Commander William E. Hall, USNR, (1913-1996) Medal of Honor Winner

Lieutenant Commander William E. Hall, USNR, (1913-1996)

William E. Hall was also a graduate of Wasatch Academy ~ Class of 1932

William Edward Hall was born on 31 October 1913 in Storrs, Utah. Graduating from University of Redlands, in California, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve from his native state in May 1938. After flight training at Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Long Beach, California and at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, in September 1939 he was designated a Naval Aviator and commissioned in the rank of Ensign. He then reported to Scouting Squadron Five (VS-5) on board USS Yorktown, his assignment until February 1942.

 In early February 1942, soon after the United States entered World War II, he took part in raids on Japanese bases in the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. Later in that month he transferred to USSEnterprise and, in April, was sent to Scouting Squadron Two (VS-2), operating from USS Lexington.

On 7 and 8 May 1942, Lieutenant Junior Grade Hall and his squadron participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea. His dive bombing skill contributed to the destruction of the Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho on the Seventh. The following day, as U.S. and Japanese carriers exchanged attacks, he aggressively engaged superior numbers of enemy planes, resulting in the shooting down of three. Despite serious wounds, he brought his SBD "Dauntless" scout-bomber safely back aboard his ship. For his "extreme courage and conspicuous heroism" on these occasions, Hall was awarded the Medal of Honor.

During most of the rest of 1942, Hall recovered from his injuries at the Naval Hospital, San Diego, California, receiving promotion to Lieutenant during this time. Early in 1943 he began duty as an instructor at the Naval Air Station, Daytona Beach, Florida. Achieving the rank of Lieutenant Commander in March 1944, he served for a few months at Naval Air Station, Miami, Florida, then transferred for staff duty at Naval Air Station, Seattle, Washington.

Hall also briefly served with the Night Attack Combat Training Unit, Pacific, during the War's final months. For his last duty station, he was ordered for staff duty with Commander Fleet Air, Western Pacific in September 1946, from which he was released from active duty a month later. William E. Hall remained in the Naval Reserve for nearly another decade and a half, retiring in November 1960. He died on 15 November 1996 and is buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

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