NOTAM 07-2016 (Haller) Emeritus Member
Golden Eagle NOTAM
CAPT Morris E. Haller, USN (Ret)
Dear Golden Eagles,
It is my sad duty to inform you that Emeritus Member, CAPT Morris E. Haller, USN (Ret), age 97, made his Last Take-Off on February 5, 2016, in Centennial, Colorado, at his daughter’s home. Morris was born on January 28, 1919 in Rivesville, WV. His father Morris Jacob Haller was a Principal/teacher and his mother was also a teacher. He grew up in Morgantown, WV, and attended Morgantown High School where he played basketball. He attended WV University and played basketball and ran track. He held several track records in hurdles and long jump and earned his pilot’s license at school. He got his nickname from his younger sister who could not say Morris Elburn but said Selburn which eventually became “Seb”. His younger sister is still alive at 94 years old. His older brother and sister have both passed away.
When the Navy recruiter came to WVU looking for aviators, Morris signed up because of his love for flying. He joined the Navy when he was 21 years old on July 15, 1940. CAPT A. C. Reed, Commanding Officer of NAS Pensacola, pinned on his wings on May 8, 1941 after Morris completed flight training in P2Y2’s and P3M’s. Morris had met Ruth Barbe at Morgantown High and at WVU and they were married on June 23, 1941. He attended Flight Instructor School at NAS Jacksonville and from there to Primary Flight Instructor School at Lee Field, Green Cove Springs, FL. In 1943, he moved from Lee Field to Main side-JAX as Instrument Instructor in SNJ’s. His first fleet squadron in 1944 was in Coronado, CA, in PBY’s. He became Patrol Plane Commander (PPC) and led a PBY-5 TRANSPAC flight from Coronado to NAS Kaneohe, Oahu, (19.2 hours from San Diego Bay to Kaneohe Bay). He continued West to the Philippines and joined VPB-71 “Black Cats” as PPC and Maintenance Officer. Morris was awarded 3 Air Medals for air strikes along the China coast on Japanese “Sugar Charlies” small boats cruising the coast at night to deliver gasoline to Japan. VPB-71 received the Navy Unit Commendation and Presidential Unit Citation during this deployment.
In 1945 when the war ended, he returned to the US and was assigned as Executive Officer of USS Rockaway, a seaplane tender. In 1946, he was sent to Operational Training in PBM’s at Banana River, FL, then on to squadron duty in Norfolk, VA, in VPAM-3 as Operations Officer. During this time, Ruth and Morris adopted a girl and a boy, Patricia “Tish” and David Haller who passed away in 2000. Next duty was to Fleet Sonar School, Key West, FL, as the only aviator on the staff to present the Air ASW picture to the CO/XO classes. CAPT George W. Anderson, as a student, in route to CO of an aircraft carrier was most complimentary of Morris. After a year in Line School in Newport, RI, in ’49, he returned to Key West and Air Development Squadron ONE (VX-1) as Tactical Development Officer. He was Project Supervisor for “Fleet evaluation” of SSQ-2 Sonobuoy and for the P5M aircraft as an Antisubmarine Warfare Aircraft. In ’53 he went to OPNAV Staff (OP-05W) and worked for CAPT Roy Johnson and the staff. They were kept very busy as “Air Weapons Systems Analysis Staff” preparing RADM James Russell to brief “Navy Air Power” to the Symington Committee Hearings on the hill. Morris also participated in the P5M/USS Guavina (submarine) evaluation of refueling operations as they would apply to future P6M employment. On this small OPNAV Staff were CDR’s Dave Richardson, Mickey Weisner, Jig Dog Ramage, Art Brassfield and a few others. After three years on staff duty, he attended Armed Forces Staff College Norfolk, VA, in 1956 and then in ’57 through ’58, he was Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer of VP-44 flying P5M’s at NAS Norfolk, VA. His squadron received the Atlantic Fleet Navy “E” for excellence in ASW. In ’59 as Navigator on USS Saratoga (CV-60), during the Lebanon crisis in the Mediterranean, RADM George Anderson was the CARDIV Commander, and after a short Norfolk Navy Shipyard availability, CAPT John Highland took over as CO on the shakedown cruise to GITMO. During the navigator tour, on SARA, Morris was selected for Captain and his next assignment was to BUPERS as Head of Officer Placement Section for three years until ’62, when he became Director of Navy Recruiting, Third Recruiting Area, Macon, GA, for another three years. In 1965, he was ordered to Guam as Commanding Officer of Naval Station Guam, and during this tour, he was responsible for arrangements (i.e. billeting, transportation, messing, station security for all of the participants) during President Johnson’s SEATO Conference on Guam concerning the Vietnam War. In ’67, he attended the Latin American Affairs Officer School and then to Staff, Commander U. S. Naval Forces, Southern Command/COM 15th Naval District as N-4 and Latin American Affairs Officer. He visited every country in South and Central America and fleeted up to Chief of Staff in late ’67 and received the Meritorious Service Medal for his work. In ’70, he returned to the U.S. as Director of Navy Recruiting, Third Recruiting Area, Macon, GA, and established the Officer’s School of Navy Recruiting in Pensacola, FL, receiving his second Meritorious Service Medal for his work. Seb retired on June 30, 1972.
After retirement, Seb and Ruth moved to Melbourne, FL, where they lived for 23 years. Seb was most proud of his membership beginning in 1990 in The Golden Eagles. He was a Life Member of the Association of Naval Aviation and the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Executive Officer of the Bald Eagle Squadron 1980-82, and Commanding Officer of the Banana River Squadron from 1993-96. Seb’s hobby was wood working and over the years he made many fine pieces of furniture. They enjoyed travel, golf and vacationing to their Sky Valley cabin in North Georgia. Both Seb and Ruth volunteered years of work for Habitat for Humanity. Seb was asked what his building expertise during his first day on the job re-building a house? His response was “I don’t have any experience in building houses.” The manager said, “You will be a window installer.” From that day on, Seb installed hundreds of casement windows re-building Habitat for Humanity homes and became the “EXPERT” window installer. Seb and Ruth moved to Plantation Island Retirement home in Saint Augustine, FL, and lived there for several years. Their daughter, Tish Haller Bosko, asked them to move to Colorado to be closer to her and they moved to Centennial, CO, into Tish’s home with her family in August 2015. Ruth and Seb were married for 74 ½ years when Ruth B. Haller passed away on November 3, 2015 in Colorado. She was buried at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL. Seb has been cremated and his remains will be interred at the same FL cemetery on March 4, 2016. In Lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Atlanta, GA, Habitat for Humanity, the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society, 875 Randolph St., Suite225, Arlington, VA 22203 or charity of your choice. We have lost another member of “The Greatest Generation”, a great Naval Officer, and a gentleman.
He will be missed!
In Sadness, Don Boecker-Pilot