BRAZIL, Ind., (WTWO/WAWV)– Charles B. Hall was one of the 43 pilots that were known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
Hall was born and raised in Brazil, Ind.
He attended Eastern Illinois University before becoming a pilot at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
Jeff Koehler, the Clay Co. Historian said Hall and the other airmen were well trained.
“He enlisted after three years of college and according to the history in pre-med. He was an intelligent guy,” said Koehler.
Hall would later become a fighter pilot for the 99th Fighter Squadron.
“His most famous accomplishment was being the first African American pilot to shoot down an enemy air craft in World War II. He went on to complete 198 missions and shoot down three more after that, to get a total of 4 enemy aircraft to his name. That in itself was quite an accomplishment.” Koehler said.
He was the first African American to earn the Distinguished Flying Cross Award for his war efforts.
Bob Bigley, a post commander for the Post 1127 VFW, said an award of that stature is a major accomplishment.
“We don’t go to war or fight for medals. But when you do get them, it is an honor to get them, because you know that you’re being awarded for what you have done or what the people that you fly with have done,” Bigley said.
In Bigley’s eyes, Charles B. Hall is their hometown hero.
“To have him as a resident of this area, it’s a great honor to have someone like that with us. Someone that has performed his duty in the war and came back as a hero,” Bigley said.
After returning from World War II, Hall worked as an insurance agent in Chicago. He later relocated to Oklahoma City, where he worked on the Tinker Air Force Base and later with the Federal Aviation Association.
Charles B. Hall died at 51 years old in 1971.
Hall and the Tuskegee Airmen are honored in several locations around the United States.
The City of Brazil dedicated a monument to Hall in front of the City Hall. They also renamed a street after him on Brazil’s north side.
To hear more about the courageous efforts of Hall and the Tuskegee Airmen, click on the video below: