Admiral John L. Hall, Jr.
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. He was one of the toughest and best athletes of the
U.S. Naval Academy.
These descriptions of Admiral John L. Hall, Jr., for whom the ship is
named, were befitting of his huge frame, his daring military exploits
and his prowess as an athlete. However, to Dr. Susan Hall Godson, his
niece and biographer, he was a "gentle giant," with more than a fair
share of humility.
Admiral Hall was a brilliant attack force commander of World War II and
former Commander Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He was the Chief
of Staff of the Western Naval Task Force during the North African
landings in 1942 and received the Distinguished Service Medal for
opening ports and preventing sabotage while Commander Northwest African
In February 1943, he became Commander Amphibious Force, North African
Waters (Eighth Fleet), expertly cross-training Army artilleryman and
Navy gunners so that his ship call-fire missions could be conducted in
direct support of troop advance 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 ELEVENTH Amphibious Force in
England, 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 (TF 55) during the
invasion throughout the Okinawa campaign. In October 1945, he became
Commander Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
He later was Commandant of the Fourteenth Naval District and Commander
of the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia. From August
1951 until his retirement in May 1953, he was Commander Western Sea
Frontier with additional duty as Commander Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Admiral Hall was a native of Williamsburg, Virginia, and attended the
college of William and Mary for three years before transferring to the
U.S. naval Academy where he graduated in 1913. He starred in football
for three seasons at William and Mary and for 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. Admiral Hall passed away in 1978 at the age of 87.
Description of Coat of
The colors of the chevron in the center of the lower portion of the
shield are blue and gold. The 3 blue chevrons symbolize the three
assault landing invasions in which Admiral Hall's outstanding
leadership abilities contributed toward a successful conclusion. The
top blue chevron is pointing in the direction of the embattled area
which is red. This represents the penetration of fortified land areas
from the sea. The stars denote the Admiral's rank. The colors blue and
gold are traditional to the U.S. Navy and further allude to two awards
of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal to admiral Hall; red and white
refer to two awards of the Legion of Merit. The rampart heraldic goat
refers to the Naval Academy where Admiral Hall's career began. The
Naval cannon, along with a lightning bolt symbolizing electronic
communications, allude to Admiral Hall's concept of cross-training Navy
gunners and Army artilleryman so that his ship call-fire missions could
be conducted in direct support of troop advance on the land. The
heraldic mount in base represents the land areas upon which Admiral
Hall's assault landing concepts proved so successful in the
Mediterranean, Atlantic and Pacific battle areas.
Motto: Semper Victores, Latin for