Hackney, Hal T. (P2, C2, L25)
First Lieutenant Hal Thomas Hackney was born 11 July 1921, at Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. He joined the Kentucky National Guard’s 103rd Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft), at Lexington, on 27 January 1941. He was inducted into federal service on 24 February 1941. He was killed in action 29 February 1944, at Cassino, Italy. He is buried in the Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky, 7 March 1949.
Hackney was one of 43 US enlisted men who were the first ever to graduate from an officer candidate school held outside of the United States. Two other Kentuckians in the class were James N. Stevens, Owensboro, Air Force and Theodore I. Hillard, Louisville, Field Artillery. See Stars and Stripes 10 Dec 1942.
He was a member of Battery B of the 103rd Separate Battalion, Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) when he went on federal active duty in February 1941
Other casualties of the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion (Automatic Weapons) (Mobile) during World War II were: MAJ Mortimer M. Benton; CPL Opal E. Cornn; PVT Buster Criswell; 1LT Thomas L. Hehman; T/5 Richard A. Heidkamp; 1LT Jeff Johnson, Jr.; PFC Kenneth Walsh and T/5 Owen W. Whitaker.
The reorganization of the United States Army shortly before World War converted Kentucky's 123rd Cavalry on November 1, 1940, as the 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion and the 106th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion.
The 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion the battalion began training at Fort Sheridan, Lake County, Illinois on March 4, 1942. On April 30, the 103rd left New York, arriving in Northern Ireland on May 15. The unit was transferred to North Africa, arriving December 8. On July 2, 1943, the 103rd left North Africa and went to Sicily. The battalion participated in the Operation HUSKY, the Sicily Campaign from July 9 to August 17, 1943. Departing Sicily on November 17, the 103rd arrived in Scotland on December 9 1943. On September 29 1944, it was stationed at Belgium, remaining there until October 22. From October 1944 to April 28, 1945, the 103rd was in Germany. Between April 28 and May 6, the 103rd was in Czechoslovakia. The 103rd arrived at New York November 30. On December 1, 1945, the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Amphibious Automatic Weapons Battalion (Mobile) was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Redesignated May 13, 1946 as the 441st Field Artillery Battalion, Kentucky National Guard with Headquarters at Lexington, Kentucky. Currently the lineage and honors of the 103rd is carried by the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery , with Headquarters at Lexington.
Lexington Herald, 22 March 1944
LT. HAL T. HACKNEY, who was killed in action at Cassino, Italy, Feb. 29, 1944, was returned home for funeral services and burial March 7. Lieutenant Hackney was a native of Lexington, a graduate of Picadome High School and completed his sophomore year at the University of Kentucky before enlisting in the Army in January, 1941. He landed in England with the U. S. troops as a sergeant, and was among the first American men to be graduated from the officers’ candidate school in London. He served overseas for nearly two years, seeing combat duty with a Coast Artillery anti-aircraft unit in both Africa and Italy.
Besides his parents, he is survived by two sisters and his maternal grandmother. Funeral services and burial were held at the grave in the Lexington cemetery, with the Rev. Orvan Morgan, pastor of Broadway Christian Church, officiating.
Photo from the 1940 yearbook as a freshman. He was listed as a pledge to Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and a member of the Men’s Glee Club. His military records show two years of ROTC service while he was at UK.
Hal Hackney Dies in Action
Lexington Herald 22 March 1944
First Lt. Hal Hackney, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Owen Hackney, 444 Parkway drive, has been killed in action in Italy, according to word from the War Department received yesterday by his family.
Lieutenant Hackney had been overseas for nearly two years, and saw combat service with a Coast Artillery anti-aircraft unit in both Africa and Italy. He first was sent to England as a sergeant, and was among the first of the United States men to be graduated from the Officer Candidate School in London.
A graduate of Picadome high school, Lieutenant Hackney had completed his sophomore year at the University of Kentucky when he enlisted in the Army in January, 1941. He took his initial training at Fort Sheridan, Ill.
In addition to his parents, survivors include two sisters, Margaret Ann and Emma Jean Hackey, Lexington and a grandmother, Mrs. Grant Frazier, Lexington.
Special thanks to Jonathan Johnson, Lexington Public Library and SFC (R) John M. Trowbridge.