Chaplain was inspired by dangers that faced soldiers

The Associated Press

Col. Sidney J. Marceaux Jr. had been set for retirement at the end of 2007, but because of a shortage of Catholic priests in the Army, requested one more active-duty tour.

The assignment that lured him back was ministering to troops in combat. “I was able to exercise my priesthood in a way I couldn’t in a diocese,” Marceaux said. “I was able to help them face death daily. They knew they had to go out and they knew they may not come back.”

Marceaux, 69, of Beaumont, Texas, died Sept. 14 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after being evacuated from Kuwait with a noncombat related illness.

A member of the Texas National Guard from 1955 to 1963, Marceaux served as a rifleman, truck driver and radio operator over those eight years of service. After he left the service, Marceaux finished college and taught social studies for a few years at a public high school.

Marceaux formally joined the active-duty ranks in 1995. He spent a few years in Japan and many more in Belgium, where his French language skills came in handy. He deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990 in support of Desert Storm and to Kosovo and Bosnia.