A colorful and beloved veteran known as the “Sea Lord of Mobile,” has died, according to veterans groups and Republican Party officials.
The death of retired U.S. Navy Capt. Hal Pierce was announced Saturday at a debate among GOP candidates for Alabama’s District 1 Congressional seat held at the Daphne Civic Center.
Terry Lathan, chair of the Alabama Republican Party, said at the debate that Pierce made an impression on all those who knew him.
“(He was) never without his Navy hat on. Never without a patriotic hat on,” Lathan said. “He just loved America. He was a role model for me growing up, not only in the (Republican) party, but as a patriot.”
Pierce served in the Navy for 31 years, earning the rank of captain and serving as the Navy’s port coordinator in Mobile. After retiring in 2011, he served for years as an advisor to the city of Mobile, where he acquired his unusual title.
According to his LinkedIn page, Pierce said he was “appointed by the Mobile City Council and mayor as Sea Lord of Mobile, Alabama, an honorary title involving advising the city on maritime affairs.”
Pierce was also active in the American Legion, VFW, the South Alabama Veterans Council, served as a commissioner for the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, and worked for years with the Alabama Lighthouse Association to preserve the state’s lighthouses.
“He had a super strong presence and he was one of the people I always looked for when I walked into a room,” Lathan said. “His heart was bigger than life. He would always greet you or say goodbye by saying, ‘Yo.’
“We loved him with all our hearts.”
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