This page has been archived.

September 11 Memorial: Remembering the victims who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania

Photo of

Capt. Robert Edward Dolan Jr.

Age: 43

Hometown: Alexandria, Va., USA

Occupation: Head of strategy and concepts branch, U.S. Navy

Location: Ground, Pentagon

"One of Bob's department heads on the USS John Hancock gave this picture to him when they made their last deployment. This was the ship he commanded for two years, and it was the ship's last deployment because it was decommissioned shortly after. The picture shows Bob sitting in the captain's chair on the bridge. He liked being in the Navy; he liked being on a ship and being at sea. The ship's motto was 'First for freedom,' which I've kind of taken on as our family's motto since September 11. The picture just personifies his life; beyond being a family man, this was Bob." -- Lisa Dolan, wife

Profile:

Bob Dolan began his military career at the U.S. Naval Academy and by 40, was commander of the USS 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 home town of Florham Park, N.J. He was a devoted husband to his wife of 18 1/2 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. He was equally comfortable commanding a billion-dollar ship and chatting at the church picnic.

Last year, 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. Just three weeks ago, he moved into a renovated office on the first floor of D Ring, the area struck by a hijacked American Airlines jetliner last Tuesday.

"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 easy in the memories of an American hero and many more like him, so very much touched by the hand of God."

-- Sylvia Moreno

<style> #PentmemMemoryWrap { margin-left: 95px; width: 506px; background: #faf7ec; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; color: #2e2e2e; } #PentmemMemoryTop { padding: 14px; } #PentmemMemoryTop img { padding: 0px 0px 0px 10px; } #PentmemMemoryTop .headline { font-size: 12px; font-weight: bold; } #memAuthor { float: right; margin: 2px 20px 20px 0px; font-weight: bold; } .blurb { font-size: 11px; line-height: 16px; margin-left: -92px} </style> <div id="PentmemMemoryWrap"> <div id="PentmemMemoryTop"> <div class="blurb"><p><!-- <img src="http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/interactives/pentagonmemorial/images/1435.jpg" align="right" border="0"> -->"Bob was a man of great character. Of course he had flaws, don't we all. But his amazing love of family, friends, and country outshone those rare flaws. </p> <p>Bob was a dedicated family man. He was a loving and proud father. Whether he was helping scoop the guts out of pumpkins at Halloween, coaching his kids' sports teams, or helping his kids get ahead in school, Bob was an active dad. The summer before 9/11, Bob had been talking to his daughter about college. She was a rising sophomore in high school. Rebecca had been dreaming of going to The College of William and Mary since fourth grade. One day during the summer of 2001, out of the blue, Bob came home from work with the 2001 application and essay question for her from the William and Mary admission Web site. He had downloaded it off the Internet. He told Rebecca to look it over that it would be good practice, and he'd help her complete it. He was determined to help her achieve her goal. They never had the opportunity to work on it together. Bob never saw Rebecca graduate from high school, let alone get into college. This past May Rebecca graduated college with honors... from William and Mary.</p> <p>If you were lucky enough to call Bob your friend, you knew you had a true and upstanding friend for life. Bob made friends easily, but what was amazing was how long his friendships lasted. He had lifelong friends. Among those friends, were guys from kindergarten and early grade school, as well as college. Bob and his friends had a special bond. Each year since their high school days, he and his friends gathered at his family farm in Pennsylvania for a weekend of carefree antics, horseplay, and bonding, "The Dole Annual. Even now, seven years after "his" last annual weekend (the end of August 2001), "The Dole Annual" continues to gather, reminisce, and bond, and keep his spirit alive.</p> <p>Bob's unique blend of patriotism, determination, and compassion made him a successful officer. On his last tour aboard the USS Hancock as the Commanding Officer, Bob noticed one of his new sailors was having a difficult time adjusting to life at-sea, away from family. He called her up to the bridge, and he started asking her some basic questions on how she was getting along onboard. She, of course, answered positively, as she was talking to the Captain. Bob began dialing his phone. He was making a call that surprised many people, but not those that knew him best. He had called to talk to his sailor's mother. He was telling the mom what a wonderful job her daughter was doing on board, and she should be very proud of her daughter's work. Bob then let the sailor talk to her mom for a few minutes. The sailor could not believe her Captain actually took the time to talk to her (and her mother) and make her feel welcome aboard. His sailor was more self confident after their exchange. Bob didn't tell me this story until I asked him about it months after they returned home. It was relayed to me by other members of his crew. Let's add humble to his traits.</p> <p>Bob was a loved and admired husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was an honest, intelligent, and respected leader. Bob was a man of great SUCCESS!"</p> <div id="memAuthor">-- Lisa Dolan, wife <!-- /end memAuthor --></div> <!-- /end blurb --></div> <br> </div> </div>

Source: The Washington Post, AP and washingtonpost.com

The profiles in this feature were written in the months following Sept. 11, 2001.

Search Victim Database

Search has been taken offline.

Timeline

A day after the 9/11 attacks a makeshift memorial was created on the Arlington Memorial Cemetery fence. Seven years later, the first 9/11 memorial is opening.

Related Coverage:

3-Dimensional Virtual Memorial

Victims Remembered in Maryland

One Family's Loss

Stepping Through the Ashes

Pentagon Under Attack

Five Year Anniversary Coverage


© The Washington Post Company