Patrick Connell was born in Dublin, Ireland on March 3, 1951 at St. Patrick’s Orphanage. He, along with a girl, was adopted and brought to the United States in 1958 and subsequently became an American Citizen after being naturalized in late 1958.
Pat was educated in Catholic Schools in various states around the country due to his father’s duties with the US Air Force. Pat graduated from Divine Word Seminary in Bordentown, New Jersey in 1969 and enrolled the following September at South Dakota State University. Upon completion of his first year, Pat enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in June 1970 and was shipped to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego California.
Pat graduated Honor Man from Platoon 3109 in August and went on to Camp San Onofre at Camp Pendleton for his Infantry Training. He received orders to the Fleet Marine Force Pacific and landed at Marble Mountain as part of a Security Company for the 1st Marine Air Wing. Upon his completion of his tour in country – Pat was selected for Sea Duty, completed training and was assigned to the Marine Detachment USS Enterprise where he was immediately deployed to the Gulf of Tonkin to assist with the drawdown of Marine and other Military Units. After his discharge in 1974, Pat enrolled in the University of Nebraska at Omaha and graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Pat was hired by a Police Department in Nebraska and was then recruited by the Federal Government in 1978 and became a Criminal Investigator for the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1981 Pat joined the Larry Nehring Detachment, Marine Corps League, Department of Nebraska and rose to the rank of Junior Vice Commandant after serving as a Judge Advocate and Sgt at Arms. Pat was married to the former Connie Streit of Pomeroy, Iowa in April 1983 and became a father. Pat was transferred by the VA to Phoenix Arizona in 1985 where he promptly transferred his membership in the League to the Ira Hayes Detachment. While Pat was working with the VA, he became more and more aware of the treatment of Vietnam Veterans and was himself ostracized on several occasions because of his Vietnam Veteran Status. Pat made a promise to himself that he would do everything in his power to ensure that Veterans from all conflicts would not receive the treatment that Vietnam Veterans were receiving from America. He made it his goal to ensure that Veterans were taken care of. Over 30 years with the VA, he was able to be a huge part of a residential apartment complex for women Veterans, a Sports Clinic for injured OIF/OEF Veterans and Veterans from all conflicts located at VA Prescott. He worked along with MODD Charities for the Fisher House in Tucson and is currently in negotiations with Phoenix VA for a major project at that Facility to benefit Veterans. For Pat’s dedication to the Veterans, he was elected to the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
Pat has been married for 33 years, is the proud father of daughters Anne Kathleen and Megan Elizabeth and a grandfather to Jayson, Kayleen, Aurora, Hunter and Jarrod. Pat and his wife Connie reside in Peoria, Az and Pat is presently the Department of Arizona, Marine Corps League Commandant.