Honor Flight Syracuse Mission 12: The Story of Fulton Veteran Donald Patrick Sr.

Donald Patrick Sr., a Fulton veteran of the Korean War, shares his story after Honor Flight Syracuse Mission 12.

FULTON, NY – It was 1951 when a sprightly 19-year-old Donald Patrick Sr. set off to serve his country in the Korean War.

He left behind his newlywed wife, Rose, and set sail as an electrician for the U.S. Navy.

The majority of his service was spent on the Navy aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV-47).

Fortunately, his work as an electrician and his role on the aircraft carrier didn’t interfere with his inability to swim or his potentially problematic seasickness.

“Don’t tell nobody, I couldn’t swim,” Patrick laughed, as he recalled a time when “newbies” in the Navy were thrown overboard when they reached the equator, so he quietly snuck away down below on the ship.

“If they would have thrown me over, we wouldn’t be talking today,” he joked.

Despite his family’s long running commitment to the military, he was the first of his immediate family to join the Navy. He followed after his father who served in World War I with the U.S. Army, and his brothers, Percy and Kenneth, who served in the U.S. Marines in World War II.

In California when he heard the news that the United States would be sending forces to fight the Korean War, he immediately told his father he was going to help.

Together, the two drove for three days straight back to Syracuse for Patrick to enlist and fulfill his desire to serve his country.

It was his role in the military that brought him together with the love of his life, his wife of 65 years, Rosemary.

He arrived in Chicago, his wife’s hometown, for boot camp.

“Luckily, I got my wife for the fact that I knew somebody that was from where she was. He introduced me to her and she didn’t like me,” he laughed. “One night, her and her girlfriend, me and another guy, she was going to go with us, she saw us coming and she just kept on going.”

But a few dates later, the two were smitten.

“We got married right there in Chicago. I could hear people saying, ‘oh, they’ll never be together that long’ because it was less than a few days when we got married but we fooled them and we done it forever,” he said.

She wrote him a letter everyday he was gone at war.

11 days before he returned home at the end of the war, she gave birth to a baby, Donald Patrick Jr., the first of five children.

Patrick Sr. finished out his four years of active duty and went on to serve four years in the Naval Reserves. He and Rose moved their family back to his roots in Fulton in 1959.

They grew their family and he worked hard to provide for them, building several houses in Fulton’s third ward that his son, Donald Patrick Jr., now represents on the Fulton Common Council.

Rose passed away nearly two years ago, but Patrick stays in the home they made with the company of their beloved cat, Smokey.

At 86-years-old, while battling prostate cancer and injuries relative to his service and aging, it’s not often he gets out of the house anymore. After years of wanting to go, the timing was finally right for Patrick Sr. to attend the Honor Flight Syracuse.

Donald Patrick Sr. recalls his time on Honor Flight Syracuse Mission 12.

Together with 79 other veterans, Patrick Sr. was escorted by his daughter, Kimberly Raymond, as a very early morning flight took the group to Washington D.C.

Guided by a police escort, the group visited the many national monuments dedicated to honor the service of all veterans like themselves.

Despite the several stops they made to visit national monuments, Patrick couldn’t pick just one part of the day he enjoyed most- from the monuments to the exuberant homecoming, it was all just unbelievable, he said.

“The whole day was beautiful,” he said, crediting the incredible service from Honor Flight volunteers and the outpouring of respect for all veterans.

“Never in my life thought I would see it like that. It was wonderful. Just wonderful, wonderful, wonderful,” he said through tears.

The Honor Flight ended with a huge homecoming crowd and a welcoming ceremony at Syracuse Airport where hundreds of people waited outside for the arrival of the veterans, waving flags, holding signs, and cheering non-stop.

Nearly 65 years later, Donald Patrick Sr. got the recognition and the welcome home he so greatly deserved.


  1. My Dad also served during the Korean War on the USS Philippine Sea. He also was a electrician. ( Francis Alden Barkley)

  2. I met don sr.many times. As I rented a home from him and his brother Percy. Then it was the sons who took over.
    Don Jr was a a coach for Fulton Pop Warner and I was one two. I think our team had 3 coaches that year. And I have to say. We didn’t lose one game that year. And I had long hair. Really long. At the end of the year I told the kids if you win every game this year i will put every one of your names in a hat and draw just one of you. To cut my hair. Don Jr pulled out a name. .And it was nick.gould. who cut the back of my hair . Very short. Till this day I think every one of them kid still call us coach ..and they have a lot of respect. My father served with Don sr.in the navy. But my father went on to the battle ship of North Carolina. . Do you know every war.that.anyone who live in syracuse or around .there names are on the in side wall at the Syracuse war memorial war war war war Korea War Vietnam War in the bush’s War.. thanks for serving Mr Patrick and thanks for being a great guy. To me and my kids back then. To your son. I stop in one day a talk it’s been many years. Maybe we can’t coach them kids again. It’s been 20 yrs lol

  3. Congratulations Don on sharing with all of us on you’re Honor Flight trip and thank you reporter Kemp for your continued great job.We are fortunate to have him as our neighbor.

  4. Congratulations Don for this well-deserved recognition. So wish my father had been able to be a part of this.

  5. Donny Patrick is one of the finest people I have known in my life. His is kind and honest in all I have ever know him to do. I salute you for the great person and friend you are and will always be.

    God Bless you!

  6. As a u.s.marine…I SIR WELCOME YOU HOME,AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE…it’s a very rewarding job to be part of the u.s.military…..honor flight is an awesome reward..and for all they do for us vets….I do know ,when I came home .No one ever met our plane and welcomed us home….I’ve had two people welcome me home…one was a young girl about 15 or so …it brought tears to my eyes…and the second person was our county rep…and I thank them….I’m so glad that you made it to all these monuments in Washington…THANK YOU MR.PATRICK….GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY…

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