Introduction re Homer E. Hall, by L. Aileen Hall
I want to introduce you to my husband
for over 57 years. He was a quiet man, kind and gentle. He was
quite intelligent, he never flaunted it in any way. He was a
good listener, a deep thinker, and a wonderful husband,
Home was a firefighter for 34 years
with the Wichita fire department in Wichita, Kansas, achieving the
rank of Deputy Fire Chief before retiring in 1972. He
interrupted this career, however, by entering the military. He
was a paratrooper in Company A, 508th Parachute Infantry with the
82nd Airborne Division. Home was 29 when he joined the
paratroops, and, in his own words, "had to really hump it up" to
compete with the 18-year
He jumped at
Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and was captured by the Germans on June
13, 1944. He spent ten months in Stalag-Luft IV before escaping
with two others in April 1945. While his average weight was 185
pounds, when he escaped he weighed 115 pounds. During captivity he
was on the "Black March" during the coldest winter in German history.
He suffered frozen feet and hands, as well as malnutrition and other
related ailments. During captivity, Homer help his fellow POW's to
survive by showing them how to ration what food they received ---
especially when receiving Red Cross packages containing foods such as
meat products, coffee, dried fruits or chocolate. When were both
discharged from military service in 1945 (I was a Navy WAVE) and
returned to Wichita, Kansas, to begin our lives together, there were
many foods Homer could not eat, such as raw or cooked kohlrabi, onions,
turnips, rutabaga, and other root vegetables the Germans had fed them.
Unbeknown to the
Germans, Homer kept a list of fallen POW's, and especially many that
were shot by the Germans because they were ill, crippled, or just
couldn't keep up. When he returned to the United States, he met with the
FBI and turned the list over to them. This list showed where they
were last seen, which helped the government to identify missing
soldiers. Had the Germans known Homer was keeping the list, they would
have shot him.
Brief Summary of career
prior and following military service
with the Wichita Fire Department in 1937 as third class fireman,
advancing three grades to become 1st class fireman
(driver-engineer) in 1939.
In 1942, he
enlisted in the 508th Parachute Infantry, 82nd Airborne. During
the sixteen weeks of basic training, he received eight weeks of
communication schooling, and was then sent to Fort Benning, Ga. to
receive his wings after completion of Parachute School. Following
eight weeks more of advanced communication school, he earned the second
highest grade of his class. He then returned to his company with
the rating of Sgt and Communications Chief, and instructed radio
part-time in the Regimental Communication School.
returning from overseas in 1945, He was sent to Fort Benning, Ga. to the
Communication School as a radio instructor and repairman until he was
discharged from the U.S. Army.
returning to the Wichita fire Department he took a competitive
examination for the position of Asst. Fire Drillmaster Since
receiving the promotion to this title he instructed and trained the full
time paid department of 172 firefighters. He completed his
firefighter career serving as the department's Deputy Chief.
(courtesy of Keith W. Elston)
Grave marker of Homer
E. Hall in Section I Site 224 of the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery,
North Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas.
Homer enlisted at Ft
Riley, KS on 6 October 1942 and twenty days later was transferred from
the Recruitment Center at Ft Leavenworth, Kansas to Co A, 508th PIR at
Camp Blanding, FL.
Sgt Hall jumped into
Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944 and was taken prisoner after 5 days in
combat. He was liberated from Stalag Luft 4 eleven months later.