Jack Hallett – Leesburg, Florida
Army Air Corps P-38 and P-47 Pilot
More great news! Late this morning I confirmed that Army Air Corps P-38 and P-47 pilot Jack Hallett will join us for Veterans Flight 2019. Jack was scheduled to fly in 2016’s “One More Mission” but the (modern) airplane that was bringing him to Pensacola from Leesburg had a mechanical problem that prevented the trip. A short version of Jack’s story is below, but you can learn more about him by doing a Google search for “Jack Hallett pilot.”
As a child in Massachusetts, Jack Hallett dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot. He later lived that dream by serving as an Army Air Corps pilot in the European theatre for two years. He led members of the 9th Air Force’s 367th Fighter Squadron in missions that included bomber escort, close air-ground support, and air-to-air combat.
He served in England, France and Germany where he flew combat missions in the twin engine Lockheed P-38 “Lightening” and the single engine Republic P-47 “Thunderbolt.” Shot down twice by enemy fire, he survived both incidents without injury.
By the time the war ended he had achieved the rank of major and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for a mission during which his squadron destroyed 100 German vehicles. During his time in the Army Air Corps he flew 13 different aircraft, starting out in the PT-17 Stearman.
Jack returned to the United States in 1946 and married his wife, Martha Jane, who he met while in flight training in Alabama. They settled in his native Massachusetts, where he worked as a paint salesman. They soon tired of the New England winters and headed south to Winter Garden, Florida where he where he worked for ten years as a flight instructor at a civilian flight school in Bartow that had a contract to train Air Force pilots in the Cessna T-37 jet trainer.
The Hallett family then moved to Orlando, where he changed careers to irrigation contracting during the construction and early years of operation of Walt Disney World. He later worked for the Toro Company, retiring at age 78. He now lives in Leesburg, Florida. We’re honored that Jack is joining us for Veterans Flight – 2019 Pensacola Beach Air Show.