FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky National Guard Chaplain (Col.) Patrick J. Dolan has been selected to serve as the Army National Guard Assistant to the Chief of Chaplains for the United States Army. Father Dolan becomes the first Roman Catholic priest to serve the Army National Guard in this capacity.
Dolan will be responsible for developing programs and policy in dealing with the 2,800 members of the Army National Guard Chaplains Corps and the 365,200 soldiers they serve.
Dolan has been nominated for promotion to the rank of Brigadier General as is authorized for his new position.
Dolan is a Catholic priest and has been a serving as the Chief of Chaplains for the Kentucky Army National Guard since 2004. His new duties require him to assist the Chief of Chaplains of the United States Army with National Guard issues.
"Most of our chaplains in the Army National Guard are traditional (part-time) Guard members and have responsibilities to their local churches and communities that are not easily replaced", said Dolan. "I'll be
responsible for advising those unique dynamics to Army leadership."
Dolan looks forward to working with chaplains of all denominations from all 54 states and territories. "We have to help our chaplains grow and balance their lives with their duties with the National Guard. Each state and territory and the District of Columbia has its own flavor, its own historic character and demographic distribution, its own uniqueness".
When asked what his appointment means to Kentucky, Dolan laughed and said, "It will bring some notoriety to the Commonwealth, I suppose. Seriously, this will allow someone from the heartland to speak to the folks in D.C."
Dolan's civilian and military callings have been closely intertwined. Ordained a priest in May 1978, he was sworn into the United States Army as a chaplain in 1986. He later took the same duties with the Kentucky Army National Guard in 1992. Chaplain Dolan has deployed four times to Iraq and has served on missions in Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Korea, Kuwait, Panama and Saudi Arabia.
Among his most memorable assignments was the memorial service for Sgt. Darrin Potter, the first Kentucky Army Guard Soldier to die fighting in Iraq. "Death is never easy for any family.and this hit our Guard family hard," Dolan said.
Dolan's education includes a doctorate in inorganic chemistry from Purdue University as well as a doctorate in theology from the School of Theology, Vatican City, Rome. He also attended Harvard as part of his studies in the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.
Dolan resides in St. Bernard Parish in nearby, Clementsville, Casey County, Ky., where he serves that St. Bernard and Sacred Heart Parish in Liberty, Ky., as well as the Hispanic community in three counties.
"We are extremely proud of Father Pat Dolan," said Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville. "He is a wonderful and faithful priest, always serving others. And his involvement with the army and the National Guard has been so typical of the unselfish way he has served others in the name of
Kurtz also recognized the members of Father Dolan's two parishes for the support they've given him. "They have been extremely helpful in helping him with his responsibilities and I thank them for their generosity."
Dolan's enthusiasm for the National Guard is evident as he prepares to take on his new duties.
"The Guard is spectacular," Dolan said. "There's no two ways about it."