Soldiers in Africa Get Their Blessings from a Former Drag Car Racer

Human-interest feature as posted on Task Force Longrifles news website:  http://www.taskforcelongrifles.wordpress.com
Story and pictures by Staff Sgt. Steve Tressler

Brig. Gen. Patrick Dolan, a Marion County, Ky., native and a member of the Kentucky National Guard, conducts a Catholic Mass service for Soldiers here in Djibouti, Africa.

Brig. Gen. Patrick Dolan, a Marion County, Ky., native and a member of the Kentucky National Guard, conducts a Catholic Mass service for Soldiers in Djibouti, Africa.

DJIBOUTI, AFRICA – Patrick Dolan would have you to believe that he is just a humble boy from Marion County, Ky., whose father taught him a lot about faith and God.

Like most country boys from Marion County, Dolan did his share of hunting and drag car racing. He tried his best not to get into trouble.

Brig. Gen. Chaplain Dolan is also a humble and diverse man with a wealth of hands-on experience.

Task Force Longrifles Soldiers currently in Djibouti know Chaplain Dolan as both spiritual council and genuine Soldier.  Dolan proudly wears the badges of the military schools he attended: US Army air assault school, airborne school and the pathfinder school.

Dolan was called to the church as a seventh grader. “My father would get up and go to daily mass, and after some time I began going with him. I had served as an altar boy and in the choir, but it was going to daily mass with my father when I really felt like I was being called to something bigger,” Dolan recalls.

Dolan was ordained as priest in 1978 and attended the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Italy where he received his doctorate in Theology. Dolan was commissioned as an Army chaplain in 1986 and began serving in the Kentucky National Guard in 1992.

For more than thirty years, Dolan has served the spiritual needs of deployed Servicemembers from Ecuador to Egypt, Afghanistan to Kuwait. While visiting Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, Dolan blessed Servicemembers from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army during daily mass.

Task Force Longrifles Commander Lt. Col. Rob Larkin said, “It’s nice to have him here and it always feels good to see an old friend.”

In 2011, Dolan was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. He became the first Kentucky National Guard chaplain and first Roman Catholic priest assigned as Army National Guard assistant to the chief of chaplains for the United States Army.  In this position, Dolan acts as the chief advisor to the Chief of Chaplains on matters relating to the National Guard.

Not too bad for a drag-racing country boy from Kentucky raised on faith in God.