Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, Provincial, served two tours of duty in the Army’s Special Forces in Vietnam, and seven years as a chaplain in the Marines. On a deployment overseas to Trieste, Italy, where U.S. troops were stationed as part of a forward presence response in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
It would be Fr. Hall’s last years in the military before heading to Belize to begin a Viatorian mission there, and ultimately returning to Saint Viator High School as a teacher, coach and administrator.
But a vivid memory remains from his three years in Trieste: The time he met Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, former president of the University of Notre Dame and civil rights leader, who was visiting the troops.
“He was the guest of the President (Bill Clinton),” Fr. Hall remembers. “Since I was the only priest in the area, they said, ‘Here, he’s yours for the week.’ ”
The impromptu assignment led to a memorable week for Fr. Hall, one in which he escorted Fr. Hesburgh around the landing amphibious ship, docked in the port of Trieste.
“Could that man tell stories,” Fr. Hall says with a smile.
Fr. Hesburgh passed away Feb. 26, 2015 at the age of 97, when tributes poured in from across the world.
A photo of Fr. Hall with Fr. Hesburgh is featured in part of the military touch screen display at Saint Viator High School, where more than 85 alumni, faculty and staff are included. The majority served in the Viet Nam conflict, but more recent veterans are showcased who served in Operation Enduring Freedom, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan.