Steven Hall: ‘Oh yeah, I’d do it again’
Editor’s note: This is the latest in an ongoing series of articles profiling those who have ever served in the U.S. military, be it overseas or stateside. Every Thursday, a new profile will be published in the T-R.
Steven Hall’s entry into the military started late.
While many make their way into the armed forces shortly before or after their high school graduation, Hall didn’t enter the U.S. Army until he was in his mid-20s.
It was 1982 and the Hall had been working a variety of construction jobs. It was a difficult time and the economic outlook at that time was bleak.
“I was 24 and had been working construction, but I had lost two or three jobs in a row,” he said. “One morning I woke up and something hit me in the back of my head and I thought ‘You need to make a change.'”
So with just enough gas to drive from his home in Madrid, Iowa to nearby Perry, he met with an Army recruiter and thus began a 20-year military career for Hall.
“I told the recruiter I wanted as far away from here as I could,” he recalled.
In his two decades in the Army, Hall saw the world — Germany, Texas, Egypt, Maryland, Alabama and Vietnam — and his military career provided a structure and a pathway that helped to shape his life.
His first assignment was Germany during the Cold War, where tensions between the United States and the former USSR were still palpable.
Hall was able to travel to Berlin, both East and West.
“That was before the wall came down (in 1989),” he said. “The contrast between East and West was so stark. The wall on one side was totally blank, but on the other side, it was full of graffiti.
“It was awesome, the history of it all.”
That first assignment in Germany and his work in logistics, helping provide equipment and supplies to U.S. soldiers, led to a variety of stops around the globe.
Hall admittedly wasn’t thinking much past those first 18 months in Germany, but his commander at the time praised Hall’s efforts and noting his ability with rote memory skills, convinced Hall to continue forward.
Stints followed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, Fort McClellan in Alabama, where Hall’s organization skills were put to the test.
During his career, Hall spent a year in Egypt, as part of a multinational force and observers just a few years after the historic signing of the Camp David Accords.
“A normal tour in Egypt back then was six months, but I did a year,” said Hall, who also visited Israel, including the city of Haifa.
His work in the Army within the framework of logistics, making sure soldiers were fully equipped and supplies were ready helped shape Hall’s life.
“I was a pretty wild guy before, but I would go to work every day, got up early and worked hard. In the military, they teach you discipline. Really, I was a pretty disciplined guy, but now it became much more regimented in my life and that was good for me,” Hall said.
His final assignment was based in Hawaii, although he didn’t spend much time there.
Rather, Hall would travel to Papua New Guinea, Australia, Laos and Vietnam, the latter where his final six months were spent, again providing equipment and supplies for American soldiers doing a variety of work.
During his two decades in the military, Hall said the values instilled by his family were reinforced by what he saw as an American service member.
“The military exposed me to different cultures, different people and in the end, it was about how we need to treat each other with dignity and respect,” he said.
And while he was fortunate that he was not engaged in any armed conflicts during his time overseas, he recognizes his service as a good supply sergeant were key in keeping the peace and protecting his fellow soldiers.
“I was very lucky,” Hall said, adding that if for some reason he was ever called back into service, he wouldn’t hesitate.
“The military has given me security, health care and helped me to take care of my family. I was very proud to wear a uniform.
“Oh yeah, I’d do it again!”
Do you know a military veteran who should be profiled? Send your suggestions to Editor Jeff Hutton at: email@example.com or contact American Legion Post 46 Commander Randy Kessler at: firstname.lastname@example.org