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HOMER E. HALL

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

   He started 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.

   After 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.

   After 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.