Patrick Daley, son of mayor, enlists in Army

Patrick Daley, son of our current mayor Richard M. Daley, has enlisted in the Army:

Just months after receiving a graduate business degree from the University of Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley’s son, Patrick, is joining the U.S. Army with the full support of his father–and despite his mother’s heavy heart.

The younger Daley, a onetime West Point cadet who left after his first year, signed enlistment papers several months ago and planned to ship out in October but was dissuaded from reporting immediately, according to a family friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I would bet [his mother, Maggie Daley] asked that he please stay until Christmas,” said the friend, who reported that the mayor’s wife remains upset about her son’s decision to join the military at a time when violence rages in Iraq and U.S. troops also face danger daily in Afghanistan.

But the mayor said Tuesday he never tried to talk his son out of taking the course that, at age 29, he has selected for himself.

“If he wants to do it, he is going to do it,” Daley said. “I am very proud of his decision, and I stand by his decision. … Duty, honor and country. That is what he wants to do.

This is Big News. And not only because Patrick Daley, like thousands of other young Americans, is demonstrating that he has a dramatically different point-of-view and priorities than his parents (the word going around around here is that his parents are not one bit happy with his decision).

Patrick Daley is Democratic Party royalty. Things being what they are in Chicago with no viable Chicago Republican Party and the overwhelming popularity of the Daley name as Richard M. Daley’s only son he’s all but guaranteed the mayor’s office in the fullness of time. But, as his dad said, he’s decided to risk it all and do the responsible, honorable, and patriotic thing.

And he’s doing it the hard way by going in as an enlisted man when he could easily have received an officer’s commission. He’s going into an airborne unit.

I don’t want to take one thing away from this fine young man. But if you’re looking for signs of life and hope for the Democratic Party, this is it.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers and thanks, Glenn. While you’re here have a look around. I post on quite a variety of subjects. You may find something you like. Or fruitcake.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Despite Blackfive’s report I haven’t found evidence that Patrick Daley is a Republican. I’ve found lots of evidence that he supported George Bush’s re-election. It’s not the same thing. I would very much appreciate anyone who can direct me to some actual evidence.

46 comments… add one
  • Sue Mitchell

    Sorry folks, he backs Bush. LOL

  • Gary Johnston

    Sue – Any source for that? I reckon if a member of the Daley family backed any Republican, let alone Bush, it would be screaming across the headlines.

    /former Cook County resident

  • I don’t think taking an officer’s commission makes it any easier than enlisting.

    From this he sounds like a decent sort though.

  • Congrats on the Instalaunch! And good for Patrick. I had no idea Daley’s son was that old – but then I’m out in the burbs and pay as little attention as possible to city politics in general and the Daley family in particular.

    I have a son in the Army… I can’t imagine telling him what he should do with his life and he is 20! After all, people should be happy with what they choose to do. It sounds like he’ll be very happy with his choice. Best of luck to all of them. A little advice to the parents if I may… relax a bit, just because he’s in the Army does not mean an automatic death sentence! He may never ever see any kind of action. Then again he may. He might also get creamed by a drunk driver one night too. Life’s too short in any case to worry about what “might” happen.

  • Gary,

    Gossip column stuff, but pretty reliable all the same:

    The mayor hardly pounded the pavement for Kerry (and hardly needed to in this reflexively Democratic city), but I have a feeling that Daley is privately a little more bellicose about the war than people may expect. Just my gut.

  • silver

    If current trends continue, Patrick Daley will be next Chicago mayor, then switch parties when in office. Go Pat.

  • paul a'barge

    Look, it’s nice of the man to enlist, but frankly, John Kerry enlisted, and we now know he was the very opposite of a patriot. In face, Kerry’s entlistment was a venal, blatant ploy to grab a political future.

    What’s to say that this guy is not enlisting to get himself some insurance for his political future.

    Given the history of the DIMocRAT party, I don’t give any value to the military service of any DIMocRAT.

  • chicagoan

    As a Chicagoan who has known the Daleys for years (went to school with the Mayors kids) I wouldn’t be suprised if any member of that family voted for Bush (though you would never, ever get them to admit it) isn’t the secret ballot great!

    Mayor Daley is a social conservative and a Democrat of the ‘old school’. I think that people from other parts of the country fail to understand just how conservative Chicago Politics are… no MA liberals here. Just blue collar Roman Catholic Democrats of the John Kennedy mold.

    While they vote Democrat because it is the only game in town (literally) they are not exactly in communion with the national party.

  • Tanker J.D.

    I’m a former Army Lieutenant (lowest ranking officer). There’s definately a difference in lifestyle between the enlisted and officer ranks. Officers get a more privileges & pay, but they also have more responsibility. Young soldiers are only in charge on themselves; whether they are stressed or not depends a lot on how they behave. A U of C – trained MBA probably isn’t going to be a discipline problem, I would think…

    As for physical hardships: in the field, the level of physical hardship for junior officers and lower enlisted has more to do with the type of unit than the individual’s rank. In other words, in Infantry units, both the junior officers and the enlisted are living in the dirt, eating MRE’s, digging foxholes, etc. But, in, say, some personnel unit, the “field” is likely to be some sort of semi-permanent fixed site, hot meals and showers, A/C or heat, etc., for both the officers and enlisted.

    Since Daley is going Airborne, he is probably going to be some sort of Infantry, which means the former: mud, dirt, and MRE’s. So, that’s what’s really makes it the “hard way.”

  • As a born and bred North Sider, St. Jerome’s, Sullivan, Loyola, Air Force, I fully understand it. I considered myself a lifelong Democrat before I left da city and found out that the rest of the party was basically crazy.

  • Lawrence

    Given his age and educational background, Patrick Daley should go into the Army as an officer. I say this from the perspective of a career Marine Corps officer who has seen his share of mediocre and worst officers (albeit not Marine) in the combat arms (especially in Vietnam – e.g., the infamous Lt Calley).

    The U.S. Army badly needs small unit leaders and officers with broad persepctive, particularly in the combat arms. Patrick Daley appears to have good leadership capabilities. Therefore, he should sign-up to be a leader and thus an officer in the Army. He should not be content to go in at the lowest enlisted rank where one is only a follower by definition.

    The best leaders need to lead. It’s better for all – particularly for those who must follow.

  • Sue Mitchell:

    So did former New York mayor Koch and thousands (or millions) of other good Democrats. And being a Democrat in Chicago doesn’t mean quite the same thing that it does in San Francisco or New York.


    I’m with you on this. And three of the Mayor’s siblings live (or lived) within a couple of blocks of me.


    Thanks. An Instalanche is a fun way to start off a morning. 😉

  • Josh

    As soon as I read this, I said “The rehabilitation has begun”. I seem to remember- I can’t remember which, but I think it was Patrick- that one of the Daley kids beat a guy with a baseball bat out in Michigan. Until Daley jr. has an explainable increase in character he couldn’t be slated for dog catcher here. He can claim the army gave him the character, and the army has great credibility with white ethnics who still are his fathers favorite people.

  • Tim


    I’m a two-time (’00/’04) Bush voter, but I think you are way off base. Daley is joining the Airborne – it’s not very likely he’s “gaming the system” for political benefit, unlike Kerry and Gore did (or even Bush, for that matter), so I’d suggest backing off the partisan accusation and simply honor the man’s service to his country. It doesn’t help anyone, especially Republicans, when we cast aspersions on Dems, regardless of who they are, for doing the right thing. Would you only believe his intentions were honorable if he was wounded or killed in combat, like Pat Tillman? Give it a rest.

  • Mike G

    The relationship of the mayor of Chicago to his fellow Democrats is way too complex for simple analysis. Suffice it to say that he has many ways of tacitly supporting Republicans and undercutting Democrats when it serves his interest of remaining the most powerful Democrat in the state and a Democrat with national influence no matter who’s in the White House.

  • Josh:

    In all honesty I had the same thought as well. But then I remembered that this is Chicago, he’s a Daley, he was young, and it was quite some time ago. And, as Tim above points out, he’s going well beyond the minimum requirement.

    It seems to me that the reasonable interpretation is that this is a sincere move that also has beneficial political results.

  • I’ll not second guess the man’s motivation or intentions. He’s joining and will be judged by his performance, same as any other service member. Personally, it seemed to me in reading his “bio” he’s lived a rather irresponsible, rudderless and aimless life to this point (not unlike many born to privilidge). I hope in the Army he gets a keel under himself that helps him get on course and stick to it. There’s at least one other example I can immediately think of where a rich kid spent his youth playing around until he straightened up and made something of himself.

  • Dar

    submandave —

    I can only hope Paris Hilton is the next rich kid to straighten out. She’s way overdue!

  • Jake Hewitt

    Oh please. Daley isn’t just a “conservative Dem” he’s a corrupt whore. He pleaded with Bush to ignore Senator Fitzgerald and bypass US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for Dan Webb. He was in cahoots with George Ryan, the most corrupt governor this state has seen in my lifetime. Every week the papers have a story of some mobbed-up connections to city programs. I wish Patrick Daley all the best in his wish to serve his country but let’s get this straight: there are 2 political parties in Illinois — the corrupt status quo versus the reformers (be it conservative like Patrick Fitzgerald or liberal like Paul Vallas).

  • DensityDuck

    Someone should print out this article and staple it to Michael Moore, to get his comment on someone whose response to “is your son in Iraq” is going to be “yes”.

    Dar: Paris Hilton in the Army? I can’t see that having a happy ending…

  • Genecis

    Go on over to Sports Illustrated and vote for Pat Tillman as “Sportsman of the Year.” Please!

    Good luck to Patrick! He’s chosen a most difficult path and thus may eventually become a terrific officer. They’re called “Mustangs” in the USMC.

  • delta dave

    Going into the airborne is not “gaming” the system. Visit Fort Bragg someday and see how many folks are wandering around on crutches from jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.

    Besides, you don’t just get “airborne” status. You earn your jumb wings the old fashion way…with guts and performance.

  • GCW

    With a Master’s degree, they’ll probably have him in OCS before he even goes to his first unit (as long as he’s a good soldier in other ways). If he’s going for the glory, he’ll also be shooting for a Ranger or SF unit, meaning he could be in school for quite a while before getting to Iraq.

    I wouldn’t necessarily trust the press. His contract might say he’s going somewhere in the XVIII Airborne Corps, which includes, for example, the 3rd Infantry Division which is not airborne at all. Also, there’s no guarantee that his job will be combat related. It may be infantry, but it could just as easily be military intelligence, chemical corps, etc.

  • SFC Ski

    “What’s to say that this guy is not enlisting to get himself some insurance for his political future.” IF he was doing that he’d have joined the Navy, Iraq only has about 25 miles of coastline.

    As for the OCS or commissioning, if he enlisted for the paratroop option, he’s going to the 82 Airborne almost withoout doubt. IT is true that he could have enlisted for a direct to OCS option after infantry trainig, but he’d know about it beforehand.

    While there is not a huge number of highly educated older professional enlisting, it is not uncommon, either. Not to take away from the MArine officer’s post, but as a career NCo, I’d prefer if all my lieutenants had some enlisted background first. To know how to lead you have to know how to serve.

    IF he’s going to Iraq, his specialty could put him in harm’s way as much as anyone else, there are no front lines there, though there are some cherry assignments which could put a Soldier inside a base for the duration, about as safe as you could expect. One of my former MI soldiers was killed in Baghdad last week escorting a patrol, MP’s and transportation units take casualties quite a bit, too.

  • Brennan Stout

    NOTE: Patrick’s grandfather, Richard J. Daley, got his start in politics as a Republican. He switched when it was obvious that the Democrat party was growing rapidly in the Chicago area.

  • U.S. Cavalry

    “And he’s doing it the hard way by going in as an enlisted man when he could easily have received an officer’s commission.”

    As a military officer of twelve years, I didn’t realize I went the “easy way.” Geez…

  • Josh

    You could tell me that Patrick Daley has signed up to be a member of the Sisters of Mercy and I would take it as a political move. Chicago, where I grew up in the 5th ward, is where Mayor Daley (1970’s) once said “If a man can’t put his arms around his sons, what kind of a world is this?”

    William Daley, former Clinton Sec of Commerce, turned in an insurance licensing exam which had been done in two colors of ink. A guy testified that he had actually done the exam at the house of an examiner (it is in the last chapter of “American Pharoah”, a R. R. Daley biography).

    So I can imagine why Patrick got into West Point in the first place, even with an arrest record (I believe the assault charges mysteriously went away).

    The tribune article is not flattering for a simple reason: Nobody trusts Patrick’s good character and for good reason. The mayor might want to put his son in good graces but I think even the modern Democratic machine will have difficulty slating Patrick for anything other than State rep or senator from a white ethnic ward. There are other big dog democrats like Obama who can dictate terms in the minority district and it has been many years since Dawson and the “Silent Six” did what Daley wanted. Simply put, the machine has changed (not died) and Daley will have to work with elected Democratic power brokers to get Black and Hispanic votes for his son. And none of these will support him unless he proves he has some talent beyond sucking down his fathers generosity.

  • NOTE: Patrick’s grandfather, Richard J. Daley, got his start in politics as a Republican.

    As did Fiorello La Guardia. I don’t think anyone would claim that either La Guardia or the late Mayor Daley were anything but staunch Democrats.

  • Now hold on – if Patrick Daley becomes the Great Blue Hope, where does that leave Barack Obama? Mr. Obama is 43, Patrick Daley is 29 – maybe that is enough separation.

  • Trooper 1964

    As a 19 year Army veteran and Lieutenant Colonel with much airborne experience, I am extremely proud of Patrick Daley. What a fine young man! However, I can assure you that we all (officer and enlisted) start off going through basic training (or “boot camp” to use the popular saying). Receiving an officer’s commission isn’t “easier”; the responsibility and leadership requirements are much different between the enlisted and the officer corps. Being a member of either is, in my view, a great honor and a privelage. Given his level of eduction, he will likely move quickly into enlisted leadership positions (Corporal and Sergeant). He clearly displays the incipient leadership qualities that we desire in the Army and should be a great asset when he comes in; look forward to seeing him progress in the future…

    LTC Dave Armstrong
    US Army

  • Patrick is a Republican. Sorry to burst your bubble about the Democrats…

  • jay

    Patrick J Fitzgerald is a power-loving narcissistic jerk. He is an unclean fornicating whore out to toady up to whatever elitist power-broker can sponsor him for his next witch hunt. All honest citizens need to unite to throw this oppressive jerk out of office.

  • yall

    Pat Fitzgerald is doing what needs to be done to keep this town running right. Glad we have him.

  • S. C.

    A couple of years ago Channel 7’s political reporter Andy Shaw asked Mayor Richard M. Daley if he was grooming his son to be mayor.

    A tearful Richard Daley ranted back, “How dare you, my son is dead!”

    How dysfunctional can that family be when he can’t even acknowledge the existence of the kid.

    Patrick Daley didn’t exactly enlist out of patriotism, the Army caught up with him. After the baseball bat battery in Michigan, he got a Congressional appointment to West Point from Rep. William Lipinski. Poor kids go to jail, rich kids get to go to military school. Patrick drops out of the academy after one year, but he still had an enlistment obligation with the Army. It took years but the Army finally caught up with him.

    Hope he stays safe like we hope all of our troops do, but I hope he chooses another line of work besides politics. Dad should wind up in jail.

  • facts

    The report from Andy Shaw:

    A West Point cadet may drop out without incurring any further military obligation until their junior year.

  • B.A.R.

    As a former classmate of Patrick’s at West Point (USMA 97), I can assure S.C. that Patrick had no obligation to the Army as a result of his brief time at West Point. He quit during our first year. You are not obligated to military service until you start your third year at West Point. We had many classmates leave prior to this point and none were obligated to serve in the Army. Had Patrick quit after starting his “cow” year (USMA speak for juniors) he would have been obligated to a five year enlistment. Patrick’s decision to enlist later in life was for his own personal motivations (I won’t opine on them). Whether leaving West Point has eaten at his conscience or whether he did this for future political reasons or simply b/c he wanted to serve is beyond me. The fact that he chose to serve as a paratrooper in the 82nd tells me that regardless of the reason, he chose an honorable path. He could have easily “checked the block” by enlisting into a non-combat role. I respect his decision regardless of his motivation. Furthermore, all parents struggle with a son or daughter enlisting during a time of war. I respect the mayor for publicly supporting his son despite likely having personal reservations as a parent.

  • GOD

    Patrick Daley, son of our current mayor Richard M. Daley, has enlisted in the Army proves to me HE IS NOT a born leader.

    WANTING to be a follower and by stepping a leadership role is crazy for some1 with inborn leadership ability.

    * all my posts are my opinions or satire.

  • Many of us in Chicago have attempted reform our government. Hired Truck Scandal, Hiring Scandal, and the daily constant unethical behavior of Mayor Daley. To clean-up Chicago we need a moral leader. Patrick Daley will never serve in a dangerous capacity in the U.S. Army. Patrick Daley has been single for far to long and this is a well kept secret. The spin masters of the Daley Administration have kept a tight lid on sonny-boy. I will write it again, Patrick Daley will never serve in harms way, his father also used the Armed Forces for a political gain. The fruit does not fall far from the tree. I salute all the Armed Forces that truly serve our country for all the right reasons. Chicago is run by the Chicago Outfit and the Daley Goons. Michael Sneed is a political arm of the Daley Administration, please let he know her “Scoops” are crafted by the Daley Administration.

  • Could you please tell me where Patrick Daley is being served now?

  • John Dardanes

    Patrick Daley was forced into the milatary for personel reasons. Daddy Mayor Daley forced his son into the milatary. Come on were talking about Patrick who hit a kid in the head with a baseball bat. Of course no charges of aggravated battery were bought foward. Johnny Quarters Boyle the indicted figure head of the hired truck scandal told me 6 months before Patrick’s deaprture that the Mayor was going to put his kid into hidding. The Mayor visited President Bush several times proceeding Patrick’s enlistment into the Army. Veterans should fell duped that Mayor Daley proclaimed his son a hero. What a disgrace to the uniform. Patrick Daley will never see action in the middle east. Mayor Daley has already made sure of this.


  • Army

    I served with Patrick for a couple years. He deployed not once, but twice. He is one of the best soldiers and friends I have known in 6 years of service. Anyone here with something negitive to say obvious doesn’t know him or is seething with jealousy. I could write a thesis on how many people Patrick has helped and the incredible service he did his county, while serving in the Army. He worked above his pay grade and pulled more than his weight in every unit he was ever in. One of the greatest things about him is he doesnt like it when people know about his many acts of courage and kindness. Out of respect to one of the humblest guys I know and greatest friends I have, I will keep them to myself. If you dont KNOW him, by know I mean have actually spoken to him more than once, keep your mouth shut. Reguardless of what you think about his father, Patrick is an American war Vet and deserve your respect and gratitude.

  • Rey

    Daley went with me to a 2 months course and I did not know who he was, he is by far the smartest guy I have ever seen in my time in the Army (above Officers). I am not saying he is the hardest working guy, he is average but he is super brilliant.

  • You ,’ Megan and Patrick, J. Fitzgerald are going to get enough of putting you’re problem here of with the use of the stolen United States Military Monitoring Equipment – ESP Equipment and entering my human identity.

    King James’s grandson.”

  • Phil McCrakin

    I know he’s helped Neal and Bob. And probably given some Navel boys a dolphin waxing or two. Hopefully doesn’t end up killing somebody like his cousin. But if he does Daddy Daley will have the Chicago Police cover up his felonies. I hope he’s quit stealing computers from Chicago public schools.

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