Chief Master Sergeant

Donald J. Hall

Air Force
Inducted 2016

Donald J. Hall

Chief Master Sergeant Donald J. Hall was born 26 March 1937 in Wichita, Kansas, and raised in Stroud, Oklahoma. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1955, and completed Helicopter Flight Engineer Technical School and Tropical Survival School. He deployed to Thailand as a member of the 38th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Detachment 5. Search and Rescue missions recovered over 4800 troops during the Vietnam Conflict.

On 6 February 1967, Hall's HH-3E crew was lead on a search and rescue mission to extract a downed pilot five miles from Mu Gia Pass near the border of Laos and North Vietnam. Call sign "Jolly Green 05" made several daring rescue attempts in the midst of heavy ground fire and foul, cloudy weather conditions. Even with closing enemy and low on fuel, the crew of Jolly Green 05 made a successful recovery. As they raced to exit the area, the HH-3E sustained several hits from small arms rounds. Hit with a 37mm anti-aircraft round, the helicopter caught fire and lost hydraulic power. Spinning out of control, the HH-3E sustained another hit from a 37mm anti-aircraft round in the rear fuselage. Blown from the helicopter, one crew member managed to pull his rip-cord and deploy his chute prior to entering the trees. The remaining crew, including Hall, crashed into the side of a mountain. Hall's remains were not recovered. For gallantry in action, CMSgt Hall was awarded two Silver Star Medals.

Hall also earned a Purple Heart Medal, five Air Medals, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service medal with two stars, Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He received the Sikorsky Rescue Pin and the Jolly Green 100 Mission Patch for participating in more than 100 search and rescue missions.