Richard Patrick Hall
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." II Timothy 4:7-8
FAITH ** LOVE ** SERVICE TO OTHERS ** STRENGTH ** HONOR ** CHARACTER
Richard Patrick Hall was born on February 2,1957, the eighth of nine children to the Late James Henry Hall and Blanchie Lee Spencer Hall in Morehouse Parish in Bonita, Louisiana. Shortly thereafter, Richard's family moved to Bastrop, where he lived until he left for college in 1975.
Richard accepted Christ as a young boy and walked in reverence of God, but publicly rededicated his life to Christ and got baptized March 18, 2OO1, the Sunday before his daughter Briana was born. His walk with God came with boldness and increased intimacy. He was a Servant in Action at The Fountain of New Life Ministry for'16 years, until his health interrupted his ability to participate. Richard started in the Setup Ministry preparing the theatre before and after church services in Walter C. Young Middle School. Richard volunteered in the Nursery, the Children’s, and the Youth Ministries. His special affinity to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics drove his active participation in The Fountain Math Academy. Richard and his family sponsored three boys from the African Children's Choir in their home during their South Florida Tour. Beyond his love for children, he believed in getting fed himself so that he could better equip others. Serving as the Men's Ministry Chairperson for many years made it real that "iron does sharpen iron." Richard and LaTessa married on August 31, 1991 and together they served as Co-Chairs of the Couples Ministry and Chairs of all four COVENANT Marriage Enrichment Conferences. Richard's most powerful witness was that he modeled for his son and daughter that Real Men Pray, Praise, and Serve God with Gladness.
Richard received his formal education in Bastrop, Louisiana. Before integration, Richard attended the all black Henry V. Adams Elementary School. It was there that Principal Dr. William Alexander challenged Richard to "be okay with being different and to use his love for learning to soar the skies." He graduated and attended Morehouse Junior High, an integrated all boys school. Richard excelled in math, science and French, winning different local school and regional competitions. Richard graduated with honors from Bastrop High School and was ranked 3rd in his class and was named "Most Studious and Most Likely to Succeed" by his peers and School Administrators. Richard played football and basketball and participated in several clubs. Upon graduation, Richard received a Congressional Appointment to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the first ever from Bastrop to receive an appointment to the Air Force Academy.
Richard believed that "Education was the great equalizer" and knew he had to be intentional and driven to overcome the odds of an African American small-town boy from Southern Louisiana. Grateful for the strong work ethic his parents modeled for him and how being a man of his word were uncompromised expectations, Richard vowed to work hard, to give back, and to make it easier for his parents.
Richard earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy and obtained his Master's Degree in Human Resource Management from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. Richard's love for learning fueled his advancements in completing Undergraduate Pilot Training, Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff Course, Instructor Pilot Training, Pilot Aerial Refueling Course and the Aircraft Commander Course, to name a few. He was most proud of his jump wings as a tribute to his oldest brother, Army First Sergeant James Hall, Jr. who was a true American War Hero.
James received the Silver Star Medal (America's third highest medal for valor and gallantry in action), the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, while serving in Vietnam. James served with both the elite 101st Screaming Eagles and the 82nd Airborne Divisions and was a Master Jumper, something Richard admired.
Inspired by the heroic legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, Richard also purposed to soar as an aviator and to make a difference. Original Tuskegee Airmen Retired Colonel Charles E. McGhee has been Richard's role model since their first meeting at the Air Force Academy in 1977. Richard was amongst the few selected to attend Pilot Training and was the only African American in his class to graduate from Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Richard kept soaring and has become a highly respected and recognized Air Force Officer, Aviator and Leader.
Richard served meritoriously in the Air Force for 13 Years and over the course of his career made an impactful difference in the communities he served. Richard flew over 3,500 cumulative hours in the C-130 Hercules and the C-141 Starlifter aircraft and served as Chief Pilot in the 76th Airlift Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base. Among the support and global humanitarian missions, Richard and his cadre of 100 pilots were deployed in support of the '1990 Gulf War, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Following the Gulf War, Richard got promoted to Assistant Operations Officer of the Squadron until he separated in September 1992 for career opportunities as a Commercial Airline Pilot with United Airlines.
Recognizing he was soaring from the shoulders of the Tuskegee Airmen who weren't given the opportunity, Richard was grateful to advance his love for aviation as a commercial airline pilot. For twenty-four years, Richard flew both domestic and international fights as a First Officer on the Boeing 737,757,767 and the777, accumulating over 16,000 combined military and commercial airlines flight hours. Richard loved United and fought to get back on flying status since the start of his three-and-a-half-year journey with the aggressive prostate cancer that metastasized in his bones.
Richard was a Life Member of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.; Immediate Past President of the Miami Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.; Immediate Past President of the Air Force Academy Way of Life Alumni Group; Former Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and Southeast Region Vice president of the Organization of Black Pilots, Inc. Richard was key in establishing annual outreach programs at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, celebrating Black History and the "Become A Pilot" Program to encourage youth to embrace aviation.
Richard was the recipient of numerous Leadership awards and recognitions to include the 2O15 City of Miramar Veteran Honoree at the United Way of Broward's Mayor's Gala; Air Force Academy Way of Life Alumni Group's 2014 Pathfinder Award; United Airlines 2000 Peer Employee Recognition Award; Frank C. Martin international K-B Center's Men of Distinction Speaker; Continental Societies, Inc. Greater Miami Chapter Career Day Speaker; and Florida Bible Christian School Special Guest Reader & Community Helper Speaker. Some of his Military Honors include the Company Grade Officer of the Quarter Award; Air Force Meritorious Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Combat Readiness Medal; and the Southwest Asia Service Medal. Richard was featured in the A Minority View, February20O1 edition on "The First Blacks in Morehouse Parish."
Beyond flying, Richard was uniquely gifted as a polished communicator and an effective Leader. While assigned to the Military Airlift Command Headquarters, Richard was selected as a member of the elite Inspector General's Team as a Nuclear Surety Officer, responsible for ensuring the safety, security and effectiveness of nuclear options. Richard was handpicked for the Command Briefing Team, assigned to routinely brief senior military and civilian leaders on Air Force strategic and short-range airlift operations and new initiatives.
When they said it couldn't be done, Richard soared as the Visionary of the "Service Academy Graduates Super Reunions," becoming the Largest biennial conference of diverse graduates from each of the nation's 5 Service Academies. Expanding the reach beyond networking and celebration, The Super Reunions created a new resource group for the Department of Defense and national mentoring programs, along with a recruiting source for veteran hiring initiatives.
Richard leaves a rich Legacy of faith, Love, service to others, strength, honor and character and will be sorely missed and not forgotten. Richard earned his eternal wings when God called him home on Wednesday morning June 8, 2016. Left to cherish his memories are Loving wife of twenty-five years, LaTessa Dotson Hall, his eighteen year old son, Bryant Patrick Hall and Daddy's fifteen year old daughter, Briana LaTrese Hall; Four Brothers, Virgil Hall of Bastrop, LA, Bennie Hall (Jacques) of Hoover, AL, Atty. Albert E. Dotson, Jr. (Gail) of Miami, FL and Jonathan Dotson of Miami, FL; Seven Sisters, Rubie Lee Wallace of Crossett, AR, Blanch Hall Streeter (Donald) of Crossett, AR, Martha Jean Hall of Bastrop, LA, Rose Washington Hicks (Mitchell) of Dallas, TX, Mary Jane Hall of Bastrop, LA, Dr. Toya Dotson Greene (Jeff) of Villa Rica, GA and Christa Dotson Dean (Fred) of Miami, FL; wonderful in-Laws, Drs. Albert & Earlene Dotson, Sr. of Miami, FL; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Richard was preceded in death by his parents, the late James Henry Hall and Blanche Lee Spencer Hall, and his brother James Hali, Jr. Praise Him that we know that Richard is absent in body, but is present with Our Father and that we will see him again.
WHO ARE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN?
"Tuskegee Airmen" refers to the men and women, African-Americans and Caucasians, who were involved in the so-called "Tuskegee Experience", the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.
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