This month, the Donald W. Reynolds Community Center and Library was presented with a book donation it did not expect.
John Hall, along with his brothers Gene and Rick, presented the book “The Last Battle” to the library. John Hall authored the book about one of Durant’s most decorated war veterans, their father.
The book outlines the journey of John William Hall from a boy in Durant during the Great Depression to a master marksman in the National Guard during World War II.
The brothers said that they decided to write the book after their father’s death in 1982. John had found a manuscript written by his father to one of his father’s own brothers.
This manuscript was used along with war records, oral stories and additional research to provide the information needed for the book.
The brothers said that Durant plays a central role in the story saying the story is about the success of a son of Durant.
John William Hall was born in 1916 to Arnold Muldrow Hall and Lucy Lee Hall in Durant. Hall grew up in Durant during the great depression along with seven other siblings.
Hall learned to shoot by hunting to help provide food for his family. Hall’s older brother Roy, a member of the Oklahoma National Guard used his resources to teach him how to shoot with precision.
Hall was convinced by his brother to join the Guard at age 17 after graduating from Durant High School in 1934. There he learned to shoot with different firearms such as small bore, large bore and pistol.
While in the Oklahoma National Guard, Hall won numerous medals for marksmanship. At age 23, he became the youngest winner of the Oklahoma State Rifle Champion’s gold medal.
The book highlights how this skill in marksmanship saved him during the war including the famous Battle of the Bulge.
When the Guard was mobilized at the beginning of World War II, Hall moved to the Army where he became a captain. He first saw combat action in December. 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge.
The book describes how Captain Hall led an inexperienced platoon into battle only to end up single-handedly defending them against almost a whole platoon of German soldiers.
The book goes on to tell of Hall’s experiences during his time in the US Army until he arrived home in 1946.
The book is the real story of a Durant native whose efforts during World War II won him a Bronze Star for heroic efforts and the second highest bravery award, the Distinguished Service Cross.
“The Last Battle” can now be found in the genealogy section at the Donald W Reynolds Community Center and Library.