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CAPT Robert E. Dolan, Jr., USN

Bob Dolan began his military career at the U.S. Naval Academy and, at the age of 40, was commander of the U.S.S. John Hancock, with its motto: “First for Freedom.” 

During his 20-year Navy career, he served in Bahrain, the Arabian Gulf, the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean, at various naval stations and on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the mid-1990s before obtaining a Master’s degree from the National War College. He received several decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal.

His loyalty extended beyond his career.

He was the kind of friend who didn’t lose touch with childhood pals from his hometown of Florham Park, New Jersey. He was a devoted husband to his wife of 181/2 years, Lisa. And he made time to coach weekly Little League games for his son, Beau, and chaperon school dances for his daughter, Rebecca.

“He was intelligent and kind and giving and smart and fun and interesting and worldly,” said Mark Wallinger, who met Dolan in kindergarten at Holy Family School. Living for “duty, honor and country” did not make Dolan a one-dimensional man, Wallinger said. He could quote Shakespeare and Monty Python in the same sentence.

In 2000, Dolan, 43, moved his family to Alexandria and went to work at the Pentagon as strategy and concepts branch head under the Chief of Naval Operations. He moved into a renovated office on the first floor of the D-Ring, the area struck by a hijacked American Airlines jetliner on September 11, 2001. “Bob Dolan was the best and the brightest this country had to offer to the altar of freedom,” Lisa Dolan wrote in a letter to friends and the media.

“We pray that his rest is peaceful,” she said. “Although ours cannot be, we rest easier in the memories of an American hero and many more like him, so very much touched by the hand of God.”

 

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