Sam Hall
-- 1960 Olympic diver, self-styled freedom fighter


Sam Hall in 1985 (AP photo)
  His father, Dave Hall, was Dayton's colorful mayor in the 1960s. His younger brother Tony is a 20-year member of Congress known around the world for his work to relieve hunger.
  Though less well known than his famous brother, Sam Hall found the national spotlight on at least two occasions.
  The first was in 1960 when the 23-year-old Dayton native won a silver medal in diving at the Rome Olympics.
   And then, 26 years later on Dec. 12, 1986, Sam Hall was suddenly front page news again. This time he had been apprehended in Nicaragua and accused of spying by the Sandinista government, then in power.
  Hall's capture occurred at a time when the U.S. government, under the Reagan Administration, was publicly opposed to the socialist Sandinista regime and had secretly financed anti-Sandinista "contra" rebels. Details of the Iran-Contra affair had only recently become publicly known at the time of Hall's arrest.
  Hall said he was not working for the U.S. government, but for a small private group called the Phoenix Battalion.
  Nicaraguan officials released Hall six weeks after his capture, saying they believed he was mentally unstable.

Hall in 1959, one year before winning a silver medal in the Rome Olympics.(Photo by Bob Tamaska, Dayton Daily News)
  Hall later wrote a book, "Counter-Terrorist," about his adventures as a freelance freedom fighter in Central America and elsewhere.
  Born in Dayton March 10, 1937 to Dave and Ann Hall, attended Ohio State University where he was a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps and the Air Force Reserve.
  In 1964 he followed his father's footsteps into politics and served one term in the Ohio House. He later worked for his father's real estate business and as a diving coach.
  In 1974 he was treated for a gunshot wound, which he initially said was inflicted by an attacker. Later he admitted the wound was self-inflicted. In 1976 he was hospitalized at the mental health unit of Kettering Memorial Hospital.
  In 1979 he said he overcame a long-term drug dependency, and in the 1982 he moved to Israel to take a job with E-Systems Inc., a Dallas-based electronics surveillance firm. While living in Israel, Hall later wrote, he became focused on the threat of terrorism and the fight against communism.
  Hall is the father of three children by his third wife, Janice Chlebo Hall. Previous marriages, in 1959 and 1962, ended in divorce.
  Sam Hall was last reported to be living in Florida.


File created 9-30-1998
Compiled by Dayton Daily News Library staff
Sources: DDN coverage: Jan 28, 1987, "Sam Hall Released, returning to U.S."; Dec. 21, 1986, "A restless spirit goaded Hall to seek dream of heroism."