The Konicki Brothers sounds like it could be the title of a new fall sitcom. But a reality show about military service would be a better fit.
These Alter High School graduates have 80 years of service to this country among them. They traded their brown and gold high school colors for the light brown shirt and dark green pants of the Marines.
Chris Konicki graduated in 1979; Danny Konicki followed in 1981. Nick Konicki graduated in 1984, Matt was a 1986 alum, and Jason graduated in 1988. In between, a sister, Tracie, graduated in 1983 and passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma complications in 2008.
Their cousin, Sheri Wilson, who graduated from Alter in 1980, is proud of the family.
“It’s a big accomplishment: 80 years of combined service. I’ve very proud of them,” said Wilson, a Dayton resident. “A lot of my cousins had secret missions, so half the time we didn’t know where they were. It worried my aunt and uncle the most.”
But the brothers’ Catholic education prepared them for the challenges to come.
“I can’t say enough of the great memories I have of Alter. Alter prepared me for what life will throw at me. I was well prepared to go to Wright State University … and for USMC boot camp,” said Matt Konicki, who currently works with his best friend from high school. “The football program is outstanding, and the friendships that I created on that field have lasted for over 35 years. Coach Ed Domsitz knows how to build character in his players.”
On the evening of Feb. 15, 1991, two brothers’ paths crossed. Daniel Konicki was a staff sergeant serving as the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade special intelligence community chief aboard the USS Tarawa. Sgt. Nicholas Konicki was serving as an aviation electronics maintenance technician on board the TAVB Wright.
The USS Tarawa pulled into the Al Jubayl port in Saudi Arabia. Nick found his brother and had a surprise short reunion with coffee and call to their parents in Kettering.
A monogrammed brick lining the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park pathway in Virginia says, “Ken and Ann Konicki, Father and Mother of Five Proud Marines.”
The five Konicki brothers have served in these combat areas: Panama, Saudi Arabia, Persian Gulf, Bangladesh, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq/Kuwait, Afghanistan and Yemen/Qatar.
Chris was named platoon “Honor Man” and earned a dress blues uniform. His specialty was advanced avionic electrical tech; he currently lives near D.C. where he is working with the Australian Air Force.
Daniel received a Cryptologic Veterans Association Award and was a “Military Performer of the Year” in 2001 for the National Security Agency. He lives in Japan and works for the Department of State.
“I am real proud of his accomplishments. Dan has done some amazing things in his career for this country,” said Matt Konicki.
Nicholas, a California resident, received a Meritorious Service Medal and retired in 2009 as a major with 25 years of service.
Matthew was honorably discharged after a car accident. He lives in Columbus and has worked for corporations, educational institutions, state/local governments and major utility companies for the past 20 years.
Jason served 7 years in the Marine Corps Reserves and works as a public safety officer in South Carolina.
The brothers are all involved in charities and community service. Two of their favorites are Operation Christmas Child and Pelotonia, a grassroots movement to end cancer.
Contact contributing writer Pamela Dillon at firstname.lastname@example.org.