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Dedicated to telling the tales of Erin's far flung exiles. http://www.thewildgeese.com/
including those who served with
the fighting 69th!
Want to learn
about the history of the Fighting 69th?
1st Battalion, 69th Infantry (Mechanized), NY Army National
Who Is The Fighting 69th?
When the Great Hunger brought the Irish to the United States in
great numbers they arrived during an era of anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish,
anti-Papist discrimination and a general pro-British stance as exemplified by the populist
Know-Nothing Party. With the outbreak of hostilities following Fort Sumter the Irish
joined the Armies of both sides in large numbers and served with great distinction,
heroism and honor; the 69th NY suffered the sixth highest casualties of the more than 2000
Regiments serving the North.
As the battlefield exploits and colorful demeanor
of these Sons of Erin became reported feelings started to sway toward a less hostile
attitude permitting the process of assimilation to accelerate. These men were truly
trailblazers for their exploits permitted the Irish to join the ranks as proud citizens of
their adopted land as equal partners and paved the way for the full measure of citizenship
we all enjoy today. That tradition of service to the Nation continued as the 69th, the
sole surviving Unit of the Irish Brigade, volunteered to a man answering the call for
Volunteers for the Spanish-American War.
In 1916, the Regiment was posted on the Mexican
Border during the punitive expedition against Pancho Villa.
The entrance of America into WWI found the 69th redesignated the 165th Infantry and
selected to be part of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's newly formed elite shock Division - the
42nd (Rainbow). The Fighting 69th once again served with great distinction and
set a record for combat service that was unequaled.
The tradition continued as the Regiment served from
1940-1945 in the Pacific invading Makin, Saipan and Okinawa adding another chapter to the
69th role of honor.
That esprit de corps, tradition and history of
service continues to this day as the Fighting 69th continues to serve the
Nation and the State as the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry (Mechanized), NY Army National
Guard. We attempt to honor these Patriots - the Veterans as well as the young men of today
- and carry on that tradition by producing the historical articles offered in this