William Stephen Nall
T/5 in Signal Co, Special : Radio C
Born 1924 in AL
County of residence at enlistment: Jefferson County, AL
Other residence(s): Birmingham, AL; Tampa, FL; Panama City, FL; Niceville, FL
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: foreman, n.e.c.
College education before the war: Auburn 1 year
William S. Nall was born on March 9, 1924 in Alabama. He grew up in Birmingham, AL, and after graduating from high school attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now part of Auburn University) for one year where he joined ROTC. He filled out his draft card on June 30, 1942. An Army recruiter visited the campus and subsequently the entire ROTC cadre enlisted together on December 2, 1942. Bill was only 18. He married Lucy Turner St. John on August 1, 1943.
An article in The Birmingham News says that after their wedding they were headed to Heidelberg, OH where "he will be sent for further training." This involved attendance at the Army Specialized Training School at Heidelberg College. After the program was discontinued, Bill reports that he signed up for training at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin where specialized winter survival skills were taught.
He then found his way into the Signal Company Special as a radio man. He was sent to Camp Forrest in Tennessee where he met Octavio “Joe” Martino, a man who was to become his closest friend during their time in Europe.
A June 1, 1944 article from The Birmingham News says that he was "somewhere overseas," while his wife was living in Atlanta. Their son, Robert Stephen, was born two days later.
Bill remembers that he was attached to the 5th Rangers during their D-Day landing at Omaha Beach, rejoining the Ghost Army a few days later. His closest colleagues in the unit consisted of Joe Martino, Al Muenchen, and Charles Conrow.
Bill was diagnosed with infectious hepatitis while serving in France. A June, 1945 newspaper article reported that he was convalescing at Welch Convalescent Hospital in Daytona Beach, FL, undergoing a "reconditioning program." His wife and son were living in Birmingham. He was discharged on September 28, 1945.
Following the war, Bill had a career as a dancer on Broadway and as a professional water skier. He and Lucy had two more children: Randolph Edward (“Ed”) and Kathy Diane.
By 1956, the family (along with Bill's father Z.S.) were in Tampa FL. Bill and his father were written up in a newspaper notice for doing business as Utopia Marine in Tampa.
Bill and Lucy were divorced in 1968 in Florida, and in 1969 he married Nancy Lee Boyle. Bill pursued a successful career as a district manager for Paulsen Wire Rope; he reports that during those years he oversaw the installation of cables in NASA rocket support launching towers.
Z.S. died in 1974 in Tampa, and, sadly, both of Bill’s sons, Robert and Ed, died in 1984.
Bill and Nancy were living in Panama City, FL in the early 1990s and in Niceville, FL 1995-2000. He is still alive as of this writing (July 2022) and living with Nancy in Dunellen, FL. Bill has three grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, and he stays active riding his bike and going to the gym. He plans on living to see the Congressional Gold Medal displayed at the Smithsonian!
1944, in "battle rig"
1942 draft card
1942 enlistment record
1943 marriage record
1943 article from The Birmingham News
1944 article from The Birmingham News
1945 son's Baptismal record
1945 article from The Birmingham News
1956 article from The Tampa Times (we know this is the right person because there is also a Z.S. Nall in the business; those were his father's initials)
1968 divorce record
1969 marriage record
1993 US Public Records Index
1998-2000 US Phone and Address Directories
2022 (July 14) email from Anita Hadlock (Octavio Martino’s daughter-in-law after interviewing Bill Nall and his wife for this purpose)