Oklahoma Native, Commander of the 354th at Myrtle Beach
by Melissa LaScaleia
Brigadier General Joel T. Hall was born in 1935 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His career trajectory brought him to serve the United States Air Force as commander of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in 1984. Hall Lane, which intersects with Cook Circle near Iris Street in the Market Common, is named in his honor. We commemorate his career and accomplishments and remember his service to our city and country in this month’s history section.
Joel T. Hall attended Shawnee Oklahoma High School, and graduated in 1954. He joined ROTC in college, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s School of Aerospace Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in 1961. Then, he was commissioned a second lieutenant through the Air Force Re-serve Officer Training Corps program and began pilot training.
After completing pilot training, he returned to his home state of Oklahoma in 1962 where he was stationed to train other pilots. In January 1967, during the Vietnam War, he was assigned to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Bien Hoa Air Base, in South-Central Vietnam, about 16 miles from Saigon.
Joel Hall was awarded the Silver Star by the President of the United States for his gallantry in service during his Vietnam term. On July 11, 1967, Joel, then a Captain, was acting as the Wingman in a relief flight mission of two F-100s that were sent to deliver weapons to a U.S. special forces camp that was in danger of being overrun by the North Vietnamese.
The weather conditions at the time were hazardous, and visibility was very poor, making it challenging to accurately deliver the needed relief weapons. He also faced in-tense hostile ground fire from the enemy.
Despite these circumstances, Captain Hall made numerous successful deliveries. Because of his valor, the special forces were able to overcome the North Vietnamese and cause them to retreat.
In 1968, he left Vietnam for England, where he was assigned to the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Station, in Lakenheath. He later served as a squadron weapons officer, as well as a flight examiner in the wing standardization and evaluation office. Then he was stationed as Directorate of Operations at the U.S. Air Forces Europe Headquarters, in West Germany from 1970-1972.
Hall attended Air Command and Staff College, and graduated in 1973. Then he served as the Directorate of Operations for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations, in Washington, D.C., from July 1973 to July 1977. His duties included serving with the worldwide range improvement program, joint operational tests, and the joint Air Force and Navy air combat evaluation and air intercept missile evaluation. He was stationed in South Korea in 1977. He graduated from National War College in 1981.
In 1984, he was appointed commander of the 354th Tactical Fight Wing at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, where he served until 1986.
General Hall is a command pilot who has flown more than 4,000 hours. His military awards and decorations include: the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 15 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Combat Readiness Medal.
He was promoted to brigadier general on February 1, 1987. He retired from service on August 1, 1991.