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First Name: John

Last Name: Hall

Birthplace: Williamsburg, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)


Middle Name: Lesslie

Date of Birth: 11 April 1891

Date of Death: 06 March 1978

Rank or Rate: Admiral

Years Served: 1913-1953
John Lesslie Hall, Jr.

Graduate, U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1913

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


John Lesslie Hall, Jr.

Admiral, U.S. Navy

John Lesslie Hall, Jr., son of literary scholar John Lesslie Hall, was born on 11 April 1891 in Williamsburg, VA. He attended The College of William & Mary for three years before transferring to the U.S. Naval Academy where he graduated in 1913. He starred in American football for three seasons at William and Mary and four years at the Naval Academy. As a matter of fact, he excelled in three sports at the Academy and was awarded the coveted "Academy Sword" for athletic excellence.

Early Service

As a junior officer, he served in the battleships USS North Dakota and Utah. During World War I, he trained engineering personnel on the battleship USS Illinois, and was engineering officer of the destroyer USS Philip. During the years following the war, he had sea duty, mainly in destroyers, and served ashore as a Naval Academy instructor.

From the mid-1920s until 1934, Hall was successively, an Aide to the Naval District commandant at Charleston, SC; Executive Officer of the submarine tender USS Camden; Commanding Officer of the destroyer USS Childs; spent three years with the Naval Academy's physical training and athletics programs; and was a Navigation Officer on the battleship USS Wyoming.

Promoted to Commander in 1934, he went to the Far East to serve in heavy cruiser USS Augusta, and then commanded the gunboat USS Asheville, and a destroyer division. During the late 1930s, Hall was at the Naval War College, initially as a student, then as a member of the staff. In July 1940, he achieved the rank of Captain and was given command of the battleship USS Arkansas. This was followed by staff duty with elements of the Atlantic Fleet.

World War II

In mid-1942, Hall was appointed Rear Admiral for the invasion of Morocco, and was the Chief of Staff of the Western Naval Task Force during the North African landings in 1942, receiving the Distinguished Service Medal for opening ports and preventing sabotage while Commander Northwest African Sea Frontier.

In February 1943, he became Commander Amphibious Force, North African Waters (Eighth Fleet), expertly cross-training Army artillerymen and Navy gunners so that his ships' call-fire missions could be conducted in direct support of troop advances rather than at "targets of opportunity." His concept proved devastating to enemy forces and tank divisions as he led one of the major assault forces engaged in the Sicilian Occupation (9-12 July 1943) and the bitterly contested landings at Salerno (9-21 September 1943).

These bold achievements brought him two awards of the Legion of Merit. In November 1943, he took command of the 11th Amphibious Force in the United Kingdom, earning the Army's Distinguished Service Medal for his superb leadership of this amphibious Force "O" which landed and so effectively supported the Army V Corps on the Omaha Beach sector off the coast of Normandy in June 1944. He received a second Navy Distinguished Service Medal for command of the Southern Attack Force (Task Force 55) during the Okinawa campaign. In October 1945, he became Commander Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet, receiving the rank of Vice Admiral a few months later.


He was later Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District and Commander of the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, VA. From August 1951 until his retirement, he was Commander Western Sea Frontier, with additional duty as Commander Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Upon his retirement in May 1953, he was advanced in rank to four-star Admiral. *

* The Act of Congress of 4 March 1925, allowed Navy officers to be promoted one grade upon retirement if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat. These promotions were colloquially known as "tombstone promotions" because they conferred the prestige of the higher rank but not the additional retirement pay, so their only practical benefit was to allow recipients to engrave a loftier title on their business cards and tombstones. An Act of Congress on 23 February 1942, enabled tombstone promotions to three- and four-star grades.

Comments from Peers

General Dwight D. Eisenhower gave him the nickname "Viking of Assault." General George Patton, tough critic of fellow military leaders, heaped high praise on him.


The guided-missile frigate USS John L. Hall (FFG-32) (launched 1981) was named in his honor.

Death and Burial

Admiral John Lesslie Hall, Jr. died on 6 March 1978 at the age of 87 in Scottsdale, AZ. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 533   Created by: MHOH




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