WINTER PARK, Fla. (WESH)—Chief Master Sgt. Richard Hall Jr., a distinguished member of the Tuskegee Airmen and Central Florida native, has died at the age of 97.
Hall grew up in Winter Park and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942.
During World War II, Hall served in the 332nd Fighter Group as part of the ground crew. He was a mechanic at Ramitelli Airfield, Italy, working on the iconic “Red Tails” P-51 aircraft before and after they returned from combat missions.
Hall served his country over a span of three decades, in WWII, the Korean War, and in Vietnam, retiring in 1973 as a Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force.
In 2007, he received the Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., to recognize his WWII service as part of the Tuskegee Airmen.
A life-size sculpture of Hall sits outside of Hannibal Square in Winter Park.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. service corps. They trained at the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Macon County, Alabama, and accounted for more than 15,000 combat missions.