Lieutenant General James Reginald Hall, Jr. was born in Anniston, Alabama in 1937. He pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, studying political science. James also pursued a second degree in public administration, from Shippensburg College in Pennsylvania. Following graduation in 1957, Hall joined the United States Army.
Hall had basic training in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas and then continued to Individual Training in Colorado. Having already earned a degree, James Hall entered Officer Candidate School and earned his commission of Second Lieutenant in 1958.
James Reginald Hall rose through the ranks. By the mid-1960s he was Commander of Company C, 2nd battalion (airborne), 503rd infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade in Okinawa (Japan) and South Vietnam. He then served as Commander of 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea. After returning from duty in South Korea, he became Commander of the 4th Regiment, United States Military Academy Corps of Cadets at West Point.
Hall was promoted to Brigadier General on January 22, 1982 and to Major General on June 1, 1986. He reached his highest rank on May 31, 1989 when he was promoted to Lieutenant General. During this period Hall served as Director of Enlisted Personnel Management Branch at the United States Army Military Personnel Center in Alexandria, Virginia from 1984 to 1985 and then as Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Carson, Colorado from 1986 to 1988. From 1988 to 1989 Hall was stationed at the Pentagon as Deputy Inspector General for the Department of the Army.
Over his career General Hall also served as Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel in Washington, D.C.; and Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in Fort McPherson, Georgia. Hall’s final assignment came in 1989 when he was selected to serve as the Commanding General of the Fourth United States Army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. Here Hall became the first African American to be the Army’s highest-ranking officer in the Midwest.
Throughout his outstanding career Hall was awarded multiple awards and medals including the Army Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Renaissance Medallion Award from Morehouse College.
In May of 1991, James Reginald Hall, Jr. retired from the U.S. Army to spend more time with his family, his wife, Helen, and their children: Sheila, James, and Cheryl. He served on the organizing committee for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia and later became President of the Morehouse College National Alumni Association.