William Charles Hall – Colonel, United States Army

Courtesy of his classmates, United States Military Academy Class of 1946

William Charles Hall No.15418 Class of 1946
Died May 1982 in Rockville, Maryland, aged 58 years.
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia


William Charles Hall, known to his family and friends as Chuck, was born on 29 November 1923 in Cherokee, Iowa. Cherokee is a small, rural farming town, and Chuck lived there until his parents divorced during his early childhood. This event resulted in Chuck spending his grade school years alternating a year in Cherokee with his father and a year in Pasadena, California with his mother. During these years the family sojourns to his grandmother’s cottage on Lake Okoboji in northwestern Iowa were the highlights of Chuck’s life. A family sanctuary, three and four generations of family would gather there each summer. It was there that Chuck developed a life-long love of the water. The cottage became the root of his family life, and he continued to spend his vacations there even as an adult. Chuck spent his high school years in Cherokee, attending Wilson High School. Even in those years he demonstrated a wonderful sense of dedication and loyalty. His cousin, Marian Greenfield, recalled an incident during his senior year in high school. Chuck as a mainstay in the marching band, playing the clarinet. The band was to play in
the national competition, which happened to occur at the same time as Chuck was to be interviewed for West Point. Going to West Point meant everything to Chuck, but he couldn’t let the band down. When the West Point interviewers arrived and learned why Chuck wasn’t there, they said, “He’s just the kind we want-someone who wouldn’t let others down to pursue his own ambitions.” Chuck had already applied to the California Institute of Technology and received a scholarship there, so attended Cal Tech while waiting to receive his appointment to West Point His wait ended alter one year; he entered West Point on 1 July 1943 as a member of the Class of 1946.

Cadet life presented no major problems for Chuck. His innate characteristics of self-reliance, dependability and dedication to excellence enabled him to master each obstacle that came his way. Chuck was a member of the Cadet Orchestra as well as the Camera Club and the Fishing Club. He was on the Wrestling Squad his last two years. His classmates respected Chuck as a truly fine person, one who could be counted upon when the going got tough. Quiet and unobtrusive, he nevertheless was articulate in expressing his ideas and was always eager and ready to help a classmate. At graduation Chuck became a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps.

Chuck attended the Branch Immaterial Course at Fort Benning, Georgia and then moved to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland for the Basic Officers Course. While at Aberdeen, Chuck married May (Meg) Elinor at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Chapel in Washington, DC on 4 October 1947. From Aberdeen, Chuck and Meg traveled to Sandia Base, New Mexico where Chuck served as company commander of Headquarters Company, then as a student in the Special Weapons Course and finally as a mechanical engineering officer with the 122nd Special Weapons Unit. The summer of 1950 saw Chuck move to Japan, where he became ammunition supply officer with the 63rd Ordnance Battalion. After a year, he became chief, Supply and Transportation Branch, Ammunition Division of the Joint Logistics Command. Meg was able to join Chuck in Japan and they enjoyed their sojourn in the Far East.

Chuck later became assistant chief of Depot Operations for the Ammunition Division in the Joint Logistics Command. Following his tour in Japan, Chuck earned his master’s in mechanical engineering at Purdue University, Lafayette,  Indiana. With degree in hand, Chuck and Meg moved to Picatinny Arsenal, Dover, New Jersey, where Chuck was deeply involved in the ammunition research and development process. It was during this tour at Picatinny that their first child, Carolyn, was born in 1955. The next two years saw the Halls holding student status. At the Ordnance Officers Advanced Course at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Chuck again demonstrated his dedication to excellence by becoming the honor graduate in that course. A son, Jeffrey, was born to the Halls at this time. Then on to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where Chuck attended the Command and General Staff College.

Germany was the next stop for the Halls. Chuck was commanding officer, Army Ordnance Plant in Boeblingen, from 1960-63. The Halls’ second son, Andrew,  was born in Germany in 1961. Returning to CONUS in 1963, Chuck was assigned to the US Atomic Energy Commission in Germantown, Maryland. The majority of this three-year tour was spent as chief Special Nuclear Projects Branch in the Tests  Directorate. After Germantown Chuck served an unaccompanied tour in Korea,  where he commanded the 83rd Ordnance Battalion. Returning to CONUS in 1967, Chuck was made product manager for Mortar Ammunition at the Munitions Command in Dover, New Jersey and received the Legion of Merit. The Halls moved from New Jersey to Washington, DC in 1969 when Chuck became chief, Weapons Munitions Systems Division, Directorate for Research and Engineering, US Army Material Command. In 1972, Chuck became assistant to the director of Special Projects in USAMC. In 1973 it was discovered that Chuck had cancer and he retired from the Army on 31 May 1973.

Retirement for Chuck, especially under medical circumstances, was extremely difficult He never complained, however, and continued to demonstrate his ever ready sense of humor. He died at his home in Rockville, Maryland on 28 May 1982. He is survived by his wife Meg; daughter, Carolyn; and two sons, Jeffrey and Andrew.

William Charles Hall was one of those people about whom everyone always had something nice to say. Quiet and unassuming, he never intruded but was always there if a friend was needed. A classmate, Ken Van Auken, recalled that Chuck was a particularly outstanding person and greatly admired by his fellow Ordnance officers. He was always pleasant to be around, as he was so “upbeat,” even under the most trying times. Ken also remembered Chuck’s love and devotion for his wife Meg. Chuck never articulated his pride in being a West Pointer, but it was evident in all his actions. He loved his family. He was a loving husband and devoted father. He had so much to give to his country and to his family that the onset of the disease that took both away from him was a cruel blow. His family, his friends and his classmates feel a terrible emptiness in their lives now that Chuck Hall has finished his “course on earth.” It is fitting that all who knew and loved him say, “Well Done, Chuck; Be Thou At Peace!”

’46 Memorial Article Project and his wife, Meg

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