Monday, June 7, 2010

Lcdr William E. Hall 1913 – 1996

William E. Hall (October 31, 1913 – November 15, 1996) was a United States Naval Reserve officer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions during the Battle of the Coral Sea in World War II. Hall joined the Navy from his birth state of Utah and by May 7, 1942 was a Lieutenant, Junior Grade, serving as a scout plane pilot. On that day, over the Coral Sea, he dive bombed a Japanese aircraft carrier, contributing greatly to its destruction. The next day, he attacked a superior number of Japanese planes and shot down three. Although his craft was damaged and he was seriously wounded in this attack, he managed to land safely. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Hall reached the rank of lieutenant commander before leaving the Navy. He died at age 83 and was buried in Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Naval Reserve. Place and date: Coral Sea, 7 and 8 May 1942. Entered service at: Utah. Born: 31 October 1913, Storrs, Utah. Citation: For extreme courage and conspicuous heroism in combat above and beyond the call of duty as pilot of a scouting plane in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Coral Sea on 7 and 8 May 1942. In a resolute and determined attack on 7 May, Lt. (j.g.) Hall dived his plane at an enemy Japanese aircraft carrier, contributing materially to the destruction of that vessel. On 8 May, facing heavy and fierce fighter opposition, he again displayed extraordinary skill as an airman and the aggressive spirit of a fighter in repeated and effectively executed counterattacks against a superior number of enemy planes in which 3 enemy aircraft were destroyed. Though seriously wounded in this engagement, Lt. (j.g.) Hall, maintaining the fearless and indomitable tactics pursued throughout these actions, succeeded in landing his plane safe.

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