Body of O.C. Marine killed in Afghanistan is coming home
Remains of Donald Hogan, 20, expected in Southern California next week
The remains of a San Clemente Marine killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware today and are expected in Southern California in the middle of next week.
Friday, August 28, 2009
BY VIK JOLLY
The Orange County Register
Lance Cpl. Donald J. Hogan, 20, was on a foot patrol Wednesday morning at the time of the blast that also injured several other Marines, said a spokesman for the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton.
Family members were planning to be on hand for the transfer at Dover today.
Associated Press photographs showed the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Civilian Human Resources Patricia Adams, along with other military officials, looking on as Donald's remains arrived at the base. Pictures also showed a team carrying the transfer case off of a transport airplane.
Donald joined the Marines soon after graduating in 2007 from Tesoro High School, where he ran cross country.
"He was like most kids, in that he just enjoyed his life without a lot of concern about the future," said Donald's father Jim Hogan in an e-mail. "He had planned on making a career out of the Marines. He had told me that his goal was to attain or surpass my father's rank of Gunnery Sergeant."
A career Marine, Donald's grandfather James Hogan Sr. retired as a gunnery sergeant and was a veteran of three wars – World War II, Korean and Vietnam.
Donald, who wanted to follow in his grandfather's footsteps, talked with high school coaches and friends on the cross country team about joining the Marines.
"It's all he talked about the last couple of months in school," recalled Rachel Nama, 19, who ran junior varsity cross country at Tesoro with Donald and remembered him as always very encouraging.
"During our runs we'd do a lot of hill runs and he would always be the last one, right behind me and always pushing me," she said, with a laugh. "I really appreciate him for that. He was always one to push you and not one to leave you behind."
In an account posted online at marineparents.com, a Marine mom who said that her son was in the same foot patrol as Donald, said his actions on the day of his death were heroic.
The mother wrote: "Dear Hogan Family, my son was one of the Marines with your dear son that fateful day. My son was walking directly behind LCpl Hogan and watched him save the life of a fellow Marine that was directly in front of him and in the path of the IED (improvised explosive device). Your son was a hero to many Marines that day, including my own and there are no words to describe the emotions I am going through and I cannot begin to fathom the unmeasureable grief that you are struggling to deal with now.
Lance Corporal Donald J. Hogan was and will forever be a fallen hero and his memory will be held closely to the hearts of my son, us and all his Marines.
Semper Fidelis LCpl Hogan."
A 1st Marine Division spokesman at Camp Pendleton could not immediately provide details of the incident that took Donald's life.
This was Donald's first tour of duty and he deployed with his unit to Afghanistan in the past few months, division spokesman Cpl. Shawn Coolman said.
He was on foot patrol in the Nawa District of Helmand province when an improvised explosive device blew up nearby, Coolman said. Donald He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton.