SSgt. Patrick R. Dolphin
“We just got back from Dover (Air Force Base). All the boys came into Dover … three boys were killed,” said his dad.
The family traveled to Delaware on Tuesday to meet his flag-draped casket.
All three were patriots, born to be Marines.
Having completed two tours of duty in Iraq, Dolphin was currently serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when he died.
“He was a Marine from 8 years-old because he declared it,” says his dad, a Navy man who served from 1966 to 70. “When he found out at 8-years-old that he couldn’t be a fighter pilot” because his vision wasn’t 20/20, he shot back with a solution: “I’ll be a Marine.”
“He went to Space Camp at 9 years-old. He was a Civil Air Patrol member at 13. At the time, he was small, so they couldn’t find uniforms to fit him,” says his dad, trying to laugh through his tears.
“He had every possible piece of equipment that a civilian can get from the military: chemical suit, night vision glasses. He saved up $210 to buy them from his birthday and Christmas (money) and it took a couple years.
“He wore fatigues to school all the time. When the school was discussing the possibility of uniforms, they said, ‘Well, wait a minute. What are we going to do with Patrick Dolphin, because he already has his.”
The 2000 North Pocono graduate knew exactly what he wanted.
Coming from a long line of sailors, Mr. Dolphin says he couldn’t resist needling his son. “With a name like Dolphin “ he was destined to be a sailor, his dad jibed good naturedly.
“I told him: If it wasn’t for the Navy, the Marines wouldn’t be able to get anywhere. But he told me: If the Martz bus line could float, we wouldn’t need the Navy.”
“He was a 6 foot 3 1⁄2 inch, square jawed, blonde haired, blue eyed Marine that loved his job. His grandfather on his mother’s side was also a Marine (Edward Golden of Dunmore). And his Uncle, the late Patrick Igoe of Levittown was also a Marine.”
Dolphin underwent water training at Coronado Island, Calif. with the Navy Seals, jump school in Ft. Benning, Ga. with the Army Rangers, snipers school in Quantico, Va, and deep dive school in Pensacola, Fla.
He’d have served 12 years in the Marines this October, his dad said.
In his pain, Mr. Dolphin shares what might have been.
“[Patrick] came home for a visit two months before. He came home in the summer, prior to leaving for Afghanistan. We planned to go down and stay with him for a week, my whole family; we were going to stay on the beach. We thought we were secure in planning it for the 4th of July weekend,” he said.
“What happened was, he got called out two days prior. He left the 29th of June; we got there the 1st of July,” he shared.
“His wife got two text messages from him, just to say that he would call on the weekend. The weekend that just passed,” the grieving dad said quietly.
This was to have been Dolphin’s last tour overseas.
“He wanted to be stateside training our boys,” his dad said.
Lindsey was the love of his life. He wanted to be home, starting a family.
“Their relationship, you just had to see it to believe it. It was totally obvious that the love he had for her was number one; same for her,” Mr. Dolphin said.
The two met and began dating just before 9/11. They were married two years.
All of 4’9’’ compared to Patrick’s 6’ 3’’, Mr. Dolphin said she was “the perfect match” for his son.
Asked how he knew it was a match made in heaven, the broken hearted dad replied, “I’d have you on the phone for hours (explaining).
“I as a father know what I’m going through,” he said, but, Lindsey’s pain is that much more.
“What I told her was: He’s not gone. He’s still with us,” he said. “He is.”
The grieving dad says his mission “is to make a statement about how we forget that we’re at war. We have kids over there dying for us that we don’t give it a second though because of our daily lives. The sacrifices that they go through are unmatched. And Patrick always wanted something more for his men. The biggest thing that we can give them is our thoughts on a daily basis and support.”
Staff Sgt. Dolphin will be laid to rest from the Golden Funeral Home, located on Drinker Street in Dunmore