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Blue Angels to fly over Vancouver in honor of former commander

Harley Hall was shot down during Vietnam War

Hall family photo
Harley Hall in the early 1970s, when he commanded the Navy’s Blue Angels flying team.
The Blue Angels will salute Vietnam War casualty Harley Hall, who was their commanding officer 45 years ago, with a Vancouver flyover today.

Gwen Hall Davis, sister of the pilot, said that a team spokesman told her that at 6 p.m., the Blue Angels will fly over the Harley H. Hall Building, an office building at 10000 N.E. Seventh Ave. in Hazel Dell.

Hall, a 1957 Clark College graduate, led the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration team in 1970 and 1971.

Cmdr. Hall was deployed to Vietnam and was shot down on Jan. 27, 1973, the last day of combat operations. In 1980, federal officials declared that Hall was “presumed killed in action.”

The Blue Angels are in the Portland-Vancouver area for this weekend’s Oregon International Air Show in Hillsboro, Ore. The Blue Angels will fly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; the team spokesman told Davis that Sunday’s appearance will be dedicated to Hall.

The team is arriving today and will do publicity-photo flights around area mountain peaks before doing urban flyovers in the skies above Vancouver and Portland. They will then land at Hillsboro Airport.

The six F-18 Hornet jet fighters will be flying below 1,800 feet, creating some overhead noise, according to an air show press release.

Davis said that the Blue Angels staff did some preliminary work on the flyover last month. In addition to the GPS coordinates, the set-up team needed to know the exact height of the Harley H. Hall Building … as well as the flagpole atop the structure.

Davis had a chance to visit the Blue Angels’ home base at Pensacola, Fla., in November for a two-day show that concluded their 2014 schedule. She met former Blue Angel pilots who’d been part of Hall’s team.

And, “I met Harley’s crew chief and the fellow who made sure Harley’s canopy was in order for flight,” she said.

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