HALL, WILLIS ROZELLE
Name: Willis Rozelle Hall Rank/Branch: E6/US Air Force Unit: TDY-Civilian/Lockheed; Lima Site 85-Phou Pha Thi, Laos Date of Birth: 09 August 1927 (Rose KS) Home City of Record: Bellevue NE Date of Loss: 11 March 1968 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 202600N 1034400E (UH680600) Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered Category: Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 2052
Others In Incident: Clarence Blanton; James Calfee; James Davis; Henry Gish; Melvin Holland; Herbert Kirk; David Price; Patrick Shannon; Donald Springsteadah; Don Worley (all missing from Lima 85); Donald Westbrook (missing from SAR 13 March)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2005.
SYNOPSIS: When Willis Hall volunteered for a sensitive assignment called Project Heavy Green, his wife had to sign a secrecy agreement too. Hall, an Air Force man, was to be temporarily relieved of duty to take a civilian job with Lockheed Aircraft. He would be operating cryptographic equipment at Lima 85, a radar base in Laos, whose neutrality prohibited U.S. military presence. No one was to know.
Lima 85 was on a peak in the Annam Highlands near the village of Sam Neua on a 5860 ft. mountain called Phou Pha Thi. The mountain was protected by sheer cliffs on three sides, and guarded by 300 tribesmen working for CIA. Unarmed US "civilians" operated the radar which swept across the Tonkin Delta to Hanoi.
For three months in early 1968, a steady stream of intelligence was received which indicated that communist troops were about to launch a major attack on Lima 85. Intelligence watched as enemy troops even built a road to the area to facilitate moving heavy weapons, but the site was so important that William H. Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Laos, made the decision to leave the men in place. When the attack came March 11, some were rescued by helicopter, but eleven men were missing. The President announced a halt in the bombing of North Vietnam.
Donald Westbrook was flying one of 4 A1E's orbiting on stand-by to search for survivors of the attack at Phou Pha Thi when his plane was shot down March 13. Westbrook was never found. Finding no survivors, the Air Force destroyed Lima 85 to prevent the equipment from falling into the hands of the enemy.
In mid March, Mary Hall was notified that Lima Site 85 had been overrun by enemy forces, and that her husband and the others who had not escaped had been killed. Many years later, she learned that was not the whole truth.
Reports indicate that all the men missing at Phou Pha Thi did not die. One report suggests that at least one of the 11 was captured; another indicates that 3 were captured; and another indicates 6 were captured. Information has been hard to get. The fact that Lima Site 85 existed was only declassified in 1983, and finally the wives could be believed when they said their husbands were missing in Laos. Some of the men's files were shown to their families for the first time in 1985.
Mary Hall and the other wives have talked and compared notes. Mary still wears her wedding band and lives in a small Kansas town on the same street with two of Willis' sisters. A black POW/MIA flag flutters over her doorstep. She continually seeks information from a government she no longer trusts, believing there is a lot of information still to be had.
Mary and the other wives of the men abandoned at Phou Pha Thi think someone survived the attack on Lima Site 85 that day in March 1968. They wonder if their country will bring their men home.
------------------------------ National Alliance of Families For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietam
Dolores Alfond - Voice/Fax 425-881-1499 Lynn O'Shea --- Voice/Fax 718-846-4350 E-MAIL-------- PGGK94A@PRODIGY.COM WEB SITE ---- http://www.nationalalliance.org
December 31, 1998
We end 1998 on a very sad note as we report the passing of Mary Hall, wife of T/Sgt. Willis R. Hall - POW/MIA - Laos - Lima Site 85. Mary passed away Wednesday, December 30th. Those of us who were fortunate enough to know Mary will miss her greatly. She was a woman of strong faith, great spirit and enormous courage. As her good friend, Ann Holland stated:
"she fought the good fight and now one of God's soldiers has gone home."
Both Dolores Apodaca Alfond and Lynn O'Shea got to know Mary well over the last several years. She was our rock during the annual meetings in Washington D.C. Mary was our island of calm in a sea of craziness. Quite simply, Mary was a cool lady.
To Mary's son, Steve and daughter Jean, we offer our deepest sympathy. We can only imagine how much you will miss her, because we know how much we will miss her.
Services will be Monday morning, January 4th, 1998, at 10:00 AM.
Cards may be sent to: The Family of Mary Hall c/o Timmons Funeral Home 510 North 7th Street Fredonia, Ks. 66736
In Lieu of Flowers, Steve and Jean ask that contributions be made to:
The National Alliance of Families P.O. Box 40327 Bellevue, Wa. 98015
Jan. 8, 2005 Bits N Pieces
The National Alliance of Families mourns the passing of Jean Hall Press, daughter of POW/MIA T/Sgt. Willis R. Hall and our dear friend the late Mary Hall. To Jean's husband Fred, her children Keith and Laura, and her brother Steve, we offer our deepest sympathy.
Memorial donations may be made to: The Rockville Church of the Nazarene, 47 East Street, Rockville, CT 06793 or The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (www.ovarian.org) 500 NE Spanish River Boulevard, Suite B, Boca Raton, FL 33431.