The Swamp Ghost

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S/Sgt John Vincent Hall

Born in Los Angeles, but spent most of his childhood in Decatur, Alabama. His Father Douglas Hall was a Career Army Colonel and John joined the US Army Air Corps. Prior to the war his was based at Hill Field, where he met and married his wife Mary on May 31, 1940 and together had nine children:
Karen, Virginia, Mary, Jeanne, Doug, Tom, Robert, Helene and John.

Reassigned to Hickham Field, Hawaii. During the Pearl Harbor Attack he was out flying a practice mission and was instructed not to return until the area was clear.

Described as the best radio operator in the squadron, and a master at 'dit da' (Morese code). He flew with the B-17 overseas to Australia, and on its mission to Rabaul on February 22-23, 1942 as the tail gunner and fired at attaching fighters. After the crash, he made the radio call about their force landing and was later awarded the Silver Star.

Reported as missing in action to his wife who was pregnant with their first child, it was several months before she got any news. Returning to combat, he flew more than one hundred hours of reconnaissance missions until November 6, 1942 and earned the Air Medal.

Postwar, he was commissioned as an officer before retiring from the military at Hamilton Field. Afterwards, he remained in California and continued to work as a chef at McClellan AFB and later went into sales. He passed away in 1969.

          B-17E 41-2446 art by Jack Fellows via IHRP

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