Momentum to get a U.S. Naval ship named in honor of an Irish immigrant and former Lynbrook resident who was killed in Vietnam has gained momentum.
Patrick Gallagher was born in Ballyhaunis, Ireland and emigrated to the U.S. when he was 18, living with his aunt in Lynbrook. He enlisted in the military and fought in Vietnam, earning the Navy Cross — the second-highest military honor awarded to a member of the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps — when he risked his life to save his comrades after enemies dropped three grenades in their bunker in July 1966.
Though he survived the grenade attack, Gallagher was shot and killed while on patrol in the town of Da Nang on March 30, 1967, just days before his tour was scheduled to end. He was 23. Gallagher’s family has been making efforts to have a Naval ship named in his honor as an homage to his heroism and because he paid the ultimate sacrifice for his adopted country.
The efforts have come to the attention of State Sen. Chuck Schumer, who wrote a letter to Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on behalf of the Gallagher family.
“I write to urge the United States Navy to name the next available destroyer (DDG class ship) after Lance Corporal Patrick Gallagher of the United States Marine Corps (USMC),” Schumer wrote. “… Remembering sacrifice and honoring our heroes matters. I can think of no better way for the United States Navy and the Marine Corps to eternalize and publicize the best of what America and our armed forces stand for than to name a destroyer for Corporal Patrick Gallagher.”
Patrick’s sister, Pauline, who lives in Ireland and recently attended a ceremony there marking 50 years since Patrick’s heroic sacrifice, started a petition to get a ship named after her brother, which has garnered more than 10,000 signatures. The petition can be found at https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/patrickgallagher.
Pauline expressed her gratitude toward Schumer for working on her family’s behalf.
“We are very grateful to Senator Schumer and to all who supported the petition,” Pauline said. “The naming of a ship would be a tribute to my brother and all who lost their lives.”