Tex Hill was born on July 13, 1915, in Kwangju, Korea, to Presbyterian missionaries. After attending Texas A&M, he completed his degree at Austin College and then enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve on August 11, 1938. Hill entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the Navy on December 10, 1938, and was commissioned an Ensign and designated a Naval Aviator on November 27, 1939. After flight training, he served with VT-3 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3), VB-4 aboard USS Ranger (CV-4), and VS-41 aboard USS Yorktown (CV-5). Hill resigned his commission on July 6, 1941, and served with the Flying Tigers in Burma and China where he was credited with the destruction of 12.75 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 1 probable and 5 damaged before the group disbanded in July 1942. He was commissioned a Major in the U.S. Army Air Forces on July 19, 1942, and commanded the 75th Fighter Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group until returning to the U.S. in November 1942. During this time, he destroyed another 4 enemy aircraft in the air. Col Hill next commanded the Proving Ground Group at Eglin Field, Florida, from December 1942 to October 1943, followed by service as commander of the 23rd Fighter Group in China from November 1943 to October 1944. During this tour he was credited with an additional 2 air victories, bringing his total for World War II to 18.75 destroyed in the air, 1 probable, and 5 damaged. After returning to the U.S. in October 1944, he served with Headquarters U.S. Army Air Forces in the Pentagon until September 1945. Col Hill next commanded the 412th Fighter Group at Bakersfield Airport, California, and then at Santa Maria Army Airfield, California, flying the YP-59 and then the P-80 Shooting Star from September 1945 to January 1946. He left active duty on June 1, 1946, and then commanded the 58th Fighter Wing of the Texas Air National Guard until September 1947. Gen Hill then joined the Air Force Reserve as a Colonel, retiring on March 26, 1968. Tex Hill died on October 11, 2007, and was buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to David Lee "Tex" Hill, Major (Air Corps), U.S. Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Pilot of a P-40 Fighter Airplane in the 75th Fighter Squadron, 23d Fighter Group, TENTH Air Force, in aerial combat against enemy forces on 25 October, 1942, while performing bomber escort duty over enemy-held territory in the China Theatre. On this date, Major Hill attacked, without hesitation, superior numbers of enemy aircraft that were rising to intercept United States B-24 bombers. Without hesitation, he turned his aircraft on its back for a high-speed dive and placed his aircraft between enemy fighters and the B-24 bombers. With exceptional flying ability, Major Hill forced enemy aircraft to turn from the attack and dive away. With skillful marksmanship, he destroyed one aircraft and severely damaged three others resulting in their probable destruction. Major Hill's leadership, spirit, and extraordinary heroism in action against enemy forces in carrying the attack to the enemy without thought of the odds against himself were an inspiration to all fighter pilots. By his intrepid direction, heroic leadership, and superior professional ability, Major Hill set an inspiring example to his fellow aviators. Major Hill's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 10th Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces.