Captain Mike Ryan on Fr. Hesburgh
Letter to the Editor | Sunday, March 1, 2015
With Fr. Ted’s passing, our University, the Navy and the Nation have lost a great leader, mentor and friend. It is no secret of Fr. Ted’s love of the U.S. Navy or the Navy Sailors’ love for him. I was privileged to be able to visit him numerous times over the last few years, and he would always talk about how important the relationship was between Notre Dame and the U.S. Navy.
He talked how the relationship started on the football field and was strengthened back in the 1940s when they established a full-time training presence on campus with the V-7, V-12 and Naval ROTC programs. But since then, the relationship matured into the one forged today based on the shared institutional values of integrity, honor, courage and commitment.
I am not eloquent enough to capture in words his importance or impact on the U.S. Navy or her Sailors. Whether it was on the national stage serving as the Chairman of the USNA Visitors Board, saying mass or hearing confessions while underway on a submarine or aircraft carrier or hosting the NROTC midshipmen for a “fireside” chat up in his office on the 13th floor, he always inspired us to be better Sailors and Ambassadors for our Nation.
The Navy valued Fr. Ted so much that in 2013, we commissioned him as an honorary Navy Chaplain. During the ceremony, Fr. Ted said, “I can’t tell you how much I am touched by my Navy brothers. … Notre Dame is better because we have had the Navy [and Naval ROTC] here on campus.” The Navy is better off, because we had Fr. Ted. I will miss him dearly.
CAPT Mike Ryan
class of 1985
Naval ROTC Notre Dame