Skip to main content
Original Issue

A Soldier's Story

WOUNDED In a rocket-propelled grenade attack last week while
guarding a Baghdad police station, former Notre Dame basketball
standout and current U.S. Army Military Police officer Danielle
Green. The 27-year-old Chicago native lost her left hand,
dislocated her left shoulder and suffered shrapnel wounds to her
left leg.

The hand Green lost was her shooting hand, the one she used to
score 1,106 points--17th on the Fighting Irish career list--and
help lead Notre Dame to four NCAA tournament bids from 1995 to
2000. In 1997 a torn Achilles tendon forced the guard to miss the
entire season as her teammates made the school's first Final Four
appearance. Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw remembers Green
training every day so she could return to the court. "Her
background in athletics is going to help her," McGraw says. "The
perseverance, the determination she developed is going to see her

McGraw last saw Green in December, when the Irish traveled to
play the University of Washington, near Fort Lewis, where Green's
571st Military Police Company was based. "She seemed to be
flourishing," McGraw says. After graduating from Notre Dame with
a degree in psychology, Green worked as an assistant girls'
basketball coach at Washington High in Chicago and spent one
season as an assistant at Chicago State. But she didn't feel
coaching was her calling, so in January 2003, Green, a junior
ROTC lieutenant colonel in high school, enlisted in the Army,
seeing it as preparation for a career in law enforcement.

Now her plans have changed. Says her husband, Willie Byrd, the
retired girls' basketball coach at Washington High, "I tried to
convince her to come home and be a housewife, but she's a
go-getter and now wants to get a counseling degree." First,
though, Green is getting used to life as a righthander at Walter
Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. One of the first
things she did was take the platinum wedding band her comrades
recovered from the attack scene and place it on her right hand.
It was, she said, a perfect fit. --Melissa Segura

COLOR PHOTO: DANNY JOHNSTON/AP (GREEN PLAYING BASKETBALL) CAN-DO SPIRIT Before enlisting, Green led the Irish to two Sweet16s.