By Mark Berman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Marine Lt. Col. William G. Hall was the kind of guy who always visited his family at Christmas and called his mother on Easter, even while serving thousands of miles away.
Hall, 38, of Seattle, died March 30 from wounds he suffered March 29 during combat in Iraq's Anbar province.
"I can't tell you how fine this young man was -- the finest husband, father, son, Marine, individual -- warm, gracious, just our very best," Pat Ward, a longtime family friend, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "My heart breaks."
Yesterday, more than 150 mourners gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to say goodbye to Hall, who was posthumously promoted from major. The father of four was the 419th member of the military killed in Iraq or Afghanistan to be buried at Arlington. He had spent 15 years in the military.
Under a sunny, blue sky, mourners followed the horse-drawn caisson carrying Hall's coffin down Marshall and Bradley drives, two of the roads that border Section 60, where many of the soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried.
Folded flags were presented to his wife, Xiomara, and his mother, Millie. Hall is also survived by daughters Tatianna, 6, and Gladys, 3, and stepsons Xavier, 13, and Xander, 9.
He was assigned to the 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Air Control Group 38, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
"I know most of what you hear on the news about Iraq is not usually good news and that so many are dying over here," Hall wrote in an e-mail to his family two days before he was wounded, according to the Seattle Times. "That is true to an extent but it does not paint the total picture and violence is not everywhere throughout the country."
The e-mail ended: "Love you and miss you. I'll write again soon."
Hall earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from Washington State University in 1992 and received his commission that December, officials said. In addition to Iraq, he served in Afghanistan, Japan, California and Georgia.
"He could be having a conversation with me, and then my 10-year-old niece could walk in the room and he'd capture her like he'd just captured me," Hall's eldest sister, Dolores Perry, told the Seattle Times. "He could talk to anyone -- from the minister to a drug addict. He was just that kind of person."
Perry, 56, said her brother called home Easter Sunday. It was 1 a.m. where Hall was, and he sounded tired, but "he just gave us the reassurance he was okay," she said.
It was the last time they would talk.