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thedrifter 05-20-2003 05:32 AM

Priest, Marine Reunite in Desert
Marine Maj. Robert Kaminski and
Navy Chaplain Timothy Hogan

Priest, Marine Reunite in Desert

By U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. A.J. Grdovich
2nd Force Service Support Group

CAMP FOX, Kuwait ? For many Marines and sailors the desert is simply a place far away from loved ones and family, but for two of the faithful it is a place where old friends reunite and work together again.

If the saying "birds of a feather flock together" has ever held any weight, Father Timothy Hogan and Robert Kaminski are a prime example of the stereotype.

The two service members are currently serving in the Middle East in support of continued operations in Iraq. Hogan is the Roman Catholic chaplain for the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based Marine unit, 2nd Force Service Support Group. Kaminski, who is also with the 2nd FSSG, is a Marine major and the Beach and Terminal Operations Company commander.

The two first met in 1983. Kaminski served as an altar servant for the newly ordained Hogan at Our Lady of Good Council Parish, which is part of the Detroit Archdiocese in Plymouth, Mich.

There, he helped the priests prepare for mass by made sure the candles were lit, and the Eucharist and wine were ready for blessing and serving, said Kaminski.

"He was a good kid and server. He had that gleam in his eye," Hogan said of Kaminski.

Being a servant wasn't all work and no play, Kaminski said.

Every so often as a reward, Hogan "would take all the altar servants to Boblo Isle, which is an amusement park, to spend the day," he said.

As a young priest, Hogan appealed to the younger children, Kaminski explained.

His appeal soon landed him in the Navy in 1986. He served as a reserve chaplain until 1991 all while continuing to serve the parish.

In 1988, Kaminski graduated Our Lady of Good Council School and went on to Detroit Catholic Central High School.

The two would not meet again for many years. During that time, Kaminski graduated high school and entered college. His aspirations were to join the Marine Corps afterwards. He attended Michigan State University and graduated with a degree in business. On Aug. 8, 1993, the Corps commission Kaminski as a second lieutenant.

Meanwhile, Hogan's ministry led him back to the Navy, this time on active duty. He's served as a Catholic chaplain in Naples, Italy, and Okinawa, Japan, as well as on USS Bataan floating around the world.

As fate has it, the services ordered both men to Camp Lejeune where they were reunited during a change of command ceremony in July.

"The emcee mentioned Captain Kaminski's name and that he was from Plymouth, Mich., so that immediately rang a bell," Hogan said.

Kaminski was at the ceremony with family. Many of who are still members of the Detroit Archdiocese and remembered Hogan as a young priest.

With his curiosity lingering, Hogan waited till the end of the ceremony to approach the person he believed was a now-grown former altar servant.

"When Father approached me, he asked if I attended Our Lady of Good Council," Kaminski said. "At first I did not remember him because when I left the school the Father had a beard, and now he's clean-shaven. My mother was the first to notice and gave him a big hug," Kaminski said.

The reunion was emotional, Hogan said. "To see a former student be so successful and to think maybe I had a hand in his upbringing makes me very happy," he said.

The two continue to keep in touch though they have shifted their efforts to serving God and Corps from the Carolinas to the Iraqi region.

The reunion has bore more fruit than simply crossing paths again, Kaminski said. Upon return to the States, Kaminski plans to have Hogan do the honors of uniting his girlfriend, Sherry, and him in holy matrimony.



Kaminski and Hogan take a break to pause for a picture at Camp Fox U.S. Marine Corp photo by Sgt. A.J. Grdovich

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