Retired July 1, 1964. Died Dec. 8, 1998.
Brigadier General Robert Windeck Hall, commander of the Air Photographic and Charting Service since Aug. 1, 1962, was born in Washington, D.C., in 1911. He completed his secondary education there and then attended Georgetown University graduating in 1934 with honors and the degree of bachelor of arts.
He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry Reserve June 1, 1934. Four months later, he was accepted as a flying cadet and spent the following 12 months in primary and advance flying schools at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas.
Receiving his wings in the autumn of 1935, he was assigned to the 3d Attack Group at Barksdale Field, La. This unit then flew training missions, participated in maneuvers and aerial reviews, tested new equipment and conducted experiments in tactics. On Oct. 1, 1936, he became a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, one of the first to receive a Thomason Act commission. In March 1938, he was ordered to Randolph Field, Texas, as a flying instructor.
In August 1940, he was assigned to the staff of the Air Corps Primary Flying School, Hancock College of Aeronautics, at Santa Maria, Calif., (assumed command Feb. 1, 1941). From 1942 to December 1943, he was director of training and operations of the Basic Flying School at Gardner Field, Calif. From then until March 1944 he held a similar position at Minter Field, Calif.
At the conclusion of this assignment, General Hall (a colonel since September 1943) was ordered to the China-Burma-India Theater to join the staff of the Eastern Air Command, Southeast Asia in Calcutta, as assistant chief of the Plans Division. This organization, commanded by Major General George E. Stratemeyer, was a component of the Allied Air Command, Southeast Asia, headed by Air Marshal Peirce (Royal Air Force). In October 1944, he was assigned as chief of the Fighter Operations Division of the Allied Air Command, Southeast Asia, at Kandy, Ceylon. At this time, he was one of seven American officers serving in a liaison capacity at this allied headquarters. His duties consisted largely in establishing maximum coordination between fighter and fighter-bomber elements and the ground forces operating in Burma. He conducted comprehensive surveys of the over-all air-defense situation in India and reorganized air units to insure the security of the country. For meritorious service in this connection during the period August 1944-mid-March 1945, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
In March 1945, General Hall became commanding officer of the 1st Air Commando Group, a unique task-force type of unit that had been activated in India in March 1944, to provide fighter cover, bombardment striking power, and air transportation services for General Wingate's Raiders, operating behind enemy lines in Burma. For these operations, conducted from Hailakandi, India, during the period March-May 1944, the group was later awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation. After withdrawal from the front in late May of that year, the group was stationed at Asansol, India, and reorganized, with fighter, liaison, and troop carrier squadrons assigned.
Although, in December 1944, the group had transported Chinese troops and supplies from Burma to China, its efforts, at the time of General Hall's arrival, were concentrated upon the support of Allied troops in Burma. As group commander, General Hall participated in many of the unit's missions, which consisted of fighter-bomber attacks upon such targets as barges, bridges, railroads, oil wells and enemy airfields; the ferrying of supplies to hard-pressed forward areas; and the evacuation of battle casualties. He was awarded the Air Medal.
Upon return to the United States early in 1946, he was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces as chief of the Education, Staff and Tactics Branch, Training Division, A-3. This was the branch responsible for headquarters monitoring of the program from which were evolved the Air University system and the Army Air Forces' part of the National War College; the Industrial College of the Armed Forces; and the Armed Forces Staff College.
He was then selected to become director of training and operations at Bolling Army Air Field, Washington, D.C. - a position that he held for the next few years. For a nine-month interval in the course of this tour of duty (from late 1947 to mid-1948), he served as chief of the U.S. Air Force Special Air Mission in Cuba.
From January 1949 until August 1952, he held three assignments within the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. The last of these was as executive to the Deputy Chief of Staff/Personnel.
After a ten-month period spent at the National War College, from which he graduated in 1953, he was appointed deputy commander, First Air Force, at Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y. Returning to Washington in May 1956, he was assigned as director of the Military Personnel Policy Division, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower, Personnel and Reserve). It was during this tour of duty - in October 1956 - that he received his brigadier general's star. In February 1959, he was ordered to France, where, as Deputy J-3 for Plans, he was stationed at Headquarters U.S. European Command, St. Germain-en-Loye, France. At the conclusion of this tour of duty, General Hall was appointed commander of Air Photographic and Charting Service with headquarters at Orlando Air Force Base, Fla.