BrigGen David Lee Hill
Born in Kwangju, Korea on Jul. 13, 1915
Died Oct. 11, 2007 and resided in Terrell Hills, TX.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2007
Funeral Home: Porter Loring Mortuary
Cemetery: Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
Brigadier General David Lee “Tex” Hill, TANG, was born July 13, 1915 in Kwangju, Korea to missionary parents. He is preceded in death by his son, David Lee Hill, Jr. and daughter, Mazie Hill Evans.
Tex graduated from San Antonio Academy, San Antonio, Texas in 1928 and from McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1934. He then attended Texas A&M for two years before transferring to Austin College, from which he graduated in 1938. Tex entered the U.S. Navy, graduating as a Naval Aviator from Pensacola in 1939. He then served on the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga as a torpedobomber pilot in VT-3 for one year before transferring to the East Coast to the USS Ranger as a dive-bomber pilot in VB-4. He also completed one cruise on the USS Yorktown as a dive-bomber pilot in VS-41.
He was recruited out of the Navy in early 1941 to join the American Volunteer Group, known as the original “Flying Tigers”. Tex served as a flight leader and later squadron leader of the 2nd Squadron until it was disbanded in July 1942.
He became the second highest ranking ace in the American Volunteer Group with 12 ¼ victories. He was one of the five pilots and twenty seven ground personnel who volunteered to remain in China with General Claire Chennault and accept transfer to the U.S. Army Air Forces to activate the 23rd Fighter Group.
Given a spot commission to Major, Texas activated the 75th Fighter Squadron, known as the Flying Tiger Sharks, as its first squadron commander earning the name “Shark One”. Lt Colonel Hill returned to the U.S. in December 1942 and commanded the Proving Ground Group at Elgin Field, Florida.
In October 1942, Colonel “Tex” Hill returned to China at the request of General Chennault to command the 23rd Fighter Group and subsequently added six more victories to his score for a total of 18 ¼ confirmed kills.
After his return to the U.S. in November 1944 he was assigned to command the 412th Fighter Group, which was the first jet aircraft group in the U.S. Air Force. Leaving active duty in July 1946 Tex joined the Texas Air National Guard.
He was appointed to Brigadier General in command of the 58th Fighter Wing, the youngest one-star General in the history of the Guard. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, four Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Air Medals, and two Presidential Unit Citations.
He was also decorated by the Chinese Government six times and was presented the British Flying Cross by Lord Halifax. He is the past President of the American Volunteer Group Association, a Director and past President of the American Fighter Aces Association and a past National Vice-Commander of the Order of the Daedalians. He was a 33rd Degree Mason. In 1993, Tex received the Outdoorsman of the Year Award and in 1995 he received the Humanitarian Award from the San Antonio Academy and was named Warbird of the Year. In 1996, he was designated a Distinguished Alumnus of Austin College and in 1997 was inducted into the Confederate Air Force’s Combat Airman Hall of Fame.
In 1998, Tex was selected as an Eagle for the Gathering of Eagles at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio and received the Lloyd Nolen Lifetime Achievement in Aviation Award. He was selected as an Eagle seven times for the Air Command & Staff College Gathering of Eagles at Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
In 1999, he was inducted into the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2002, the San Marcos, Texas Civil Air Squadron was renamed the “David Lee ‘Tex’ Hill Composite Squadron” in his honor. He had a tree planted in his name in the prestigious International Forest of Friendship in Atchison, Kansas, and he was honored by the Texas House of Representatives who introduced H.R. 483 to acknowledge his distinguished service to our nation.
In 2003, he was honored by having a street named after him at the Heaven’s Landing Airpark near Clayton, Georgia along with four other WWII Fighter aces including Chuck Yeager, Bud Anderson, Robin Olds and Gunther Rall. He was also inducted into the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame and the Former Texas Rangers Foundation. In addition, he was honored frequently at major air shows throughout the country.
Tex married the former Mazie Caroline Sale from Victoria, Texas. He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Mazie Caroline Sale Hill; two daughters: Ann Shannon Hill Schaupp and husband, Donald; and Lola Sale Skinner; seven grandchildren: Lt. Col reagan Edward Schaupp, USAF, Darren Edward Schaupp, Bryan Craig Schaupp, Nathan David Schaupp, Joshua Tobias Skinner, Frances Lauren Skinner and William Lee Skinner; ten great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; and sisters-in-law: Lola Sale Bade and Pat Sale Kemper.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to San Antonio Academy, 117 East French Road, San Antonio, TX 78212; “Tex” Hill Cadet Flight Program, c/o Daedalians Foundation, P.O. Box 249, Randolph AFB, TX 78148; “Tex” Hill Wing Commemorative Air Force, 203 N. Lee St., Fredericksburg, TX 78624; “David Lee ‘Tex’ Hill Composite Squadron”, P. O. Box 2162, Wimberley, TX 78676 or The Admiral Nimitz Foundation “Tex” Hill Memorial, 328 E. Main St., Fredericksburg, TX 78624.