Phil Hall was born March 9, 1945 in Eagle, Wisconsin. He grew up there against the backdrop of the “Fabulous 50s”; life was good coming out of World War Two – though Phil does remember plenty of after school jobs to pick up spending money, not to mention the early days of television. He graduated high school and made the decision to join up in his own right; training followed, and soon enough Phil was shipped out, arriving in Vietnam as part of the First Infantry Division. He went into action right away, and within the first few days and patrols he had experienced the realities of war. Soon after Phil’s platoon took part in Operation Abilene, also known as the Battle of Xa Cam My. They came under an intense assault by elements of the Viet Cong; they took heavy casualties, and they also witnessed the sacrifice of Air Force Veteran William H. Pitsenbarger, who would later be awarded the Medal of Honor for his battlefield heroics. Phil’s tour would see more heavy combat, as well time behind the lines, but he made it through, though he did lose many friends and experience life-altering events, all while he was in his teens and early 20s. Phil made it home in 1968, surprising his parents at Christmas back in Wisconsin. He came home at a time when tensions were just starting to escalate, and he consequently did not experience the negative homecoming that veterans in later years would endure. Phil was suffering though; he needed as he said “to get his head right”, so he and his wife moved to the countryside to raise their family. At a point he began to reflect on his experiences and to wonder what had become of his buddies; he began to reconnect with them, and he also began to share his story – and that of William H. Pitsenbarger. Phil has since been interviewed a number of times in print and on podcasts, and he even served as a consultant on a Hollywood movie. Phil now has a son in the military who happened to be studying at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto in 2022-23, and while Phil was visiting him he dropped by Crestwood in August 2022 to do an interview with Mr. Masters.
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