Camp Pendleton, California. (November 21, 2023): In this photo by Sergeant Sean Potter, retired U.S. Marine Corps and Army veteran Maj. Billy Hall, age 97, enjoys the view of the California coastline during an honor flight in a UH-1Y Venom helicopter with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
Major Hall celebrated the 82nd anniversary of his graduation from Marine Corps Recruit Training by reconnecting with his Marine brothers who volunteered to take him aloft one more time. Major Hall has the distinction of being the last living veteran to join the armed forces before the U.S. entered World War II, at just 15 years old.
He went on to see combat action in three wars: World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Hall served as a radioman and gunner on Guadalcanal in 1942 and later flew bomber aircraft on over one hundred combat missions. After the war, Hall joined the Army National Guard as an infantry officer and was deployed to Korea where he devised ways to improve radio communications between units. In Vietnam, Hall trained as a helicopter pilot where he flew over fifty insertion and extraction missions during nine months in-country.
His awards include the Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, Korean Service Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal.